Oklahoma high school students invent football helmet to drastically reduce impact

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OKLAHOMA CITY – It’s an issue that has been in the public eye recently.

“In my junior year, I got my fourth concussion. I was told by my neurologist that if I continued to play, I may not graduate high school, let alone college,” said Ethan Blagg, a senior at Francis Tuttle.

After numerous players spoke out about brain injuries, the sport of football seemed to become a serious health risk.

Blagg was a linebacker at his high school and felt the impact of the sport on his body.

“Trying to read school books was a lot more difficult. It kind of hurt my vision for a few months. I couldn’t see as well. As you can see, I wear glasses. I didn’t wear glasses before,” Blagg said.

Now, Blagg and his classmates are working to provide a solution for the next generation of football players.

“The entire thing weighs about three pounds compared to the regular football helmet that weighs four,” said Jessica Lukowski, a co-inventor of a state-of-the-art helmet.

It looks like something from a comic book and uses a carbon fiber fabric, which is important in cases where the helmet is causing the damage.

“Most of my concussions happened face mask to face mask where you hit heads,” Blagg said. “My last one actually made me black out for a while.”

Three students at Francis Tuttle worked for almost a year researching and engineering a shock absorbing helmet.

Once it was complete, they couldn’t believe the results.

“Our helmet is able to reduce that 155 to just 27gs,” said Matt Smith.

In other words, the helmet reduced the impact by 70 percent.

“It would help people not to worry so much, moms not to worry about their kids going into football,” one student said.

They’ll be showing off their invention at a national competition in Kentucky this summer.

The prototype will be on display at the Francis Tuttle pre-engineering academy, located near N.W. 150th St. and Portland Ave. on Thursday night.

It is free and open to the public.

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