Former BC Lion hopes locally made helmet technology will help stop concussions

Click to play video: 'Former B.C. Lion promotes new helmet technology to prevent concussions'
Former B.C. Lion promotes new helmet technology to prevent concussions
WATCH: Former B.C. Lion Angus Reid says a culture change is needed to make young athletes safer. As Linda Aylesworth reports, Reid also says locally developed technology can help – Jan 6, 2016

A former BC Lion is hoping new technology that he is helping to develop and promote will reduce the number of concussions in football.

Angus Reid is calling for change in the world of sports when it comes to brute force being used on the field.

He is helping to launch new technology to prevent concussions.

Reid says the technology, called BrainShield, is developed by Shield-X Technology and SFU researchers and is the world’s first functional helmet decal.

The decal can be attached on to a helmet, like a sticker or team logo. The decals can also be placed on different kinds of helmets, including those used by cyclists.

Former BC Lion hopes locally made helmet technology will help stop concussions - image

The decal consists of four layers of micro-engineered product that diverts angled impacts.

Story continues below advertisement

“When shots hit the head, instead of torquing the head, which can tear the brain and cause internal damage, the hits will slip right off the helmet,” says Reid, adding it works as a kind of Vaseline box.

He says the technology is non-invasive, cost-effective and does not change the optics of the game. “It is not like you are enhancing the armour. You are simply using science and technology to mitigate the hits that are happening and nobody has been able to do that so far.”

WATCH: Angus Reid speaks with BC1’s Sonia Sunger about a new technology to help protect players’ brains.
Click to play video: 'Angus Reid on changing the culture of concussions'
Angus Reid on changing the culture of concussions

In the 22 years of playing football, Reid says he was lucky to have never suffered a concussion, but he is concerned about his sport coming under so much scrutiny recently.

In fact, “Concussion,” a newly released Hollywood movie that focuses on the dangers of football-related head trauma in the NFL is helping keep the debate going.

Story continues below advertisement

“Concussions are becoming a hot topic and football seems to be on the forefront,” says Reid. “I want to do my part to ensure that this game survives because it’s so good for young kids.”

Reid says he wants to raise awareness about how to play the sport properly.

“The sport is not supposed to be played by hitting your head on things,” he says, adding players should be taught how to use their eyes, legs and hands, rather than rely on equipment to protect them.

Reid says sport equipment has been getting bulkier and more complicated in recent years, giving players a false sense of security.

READ MORE: Concussions ‘becoming an epidemic problem’ in Canadian kids

“When I teach football to young kids, I bring out the helmet and say, think of it as a seatbelt,” says Reid. “We wear a seatbelt when we drive a car, but we don’t put it on to drive the car into a wall. We put it on so we never have to use it. I think the message needs to be clear – the helmet is merely a safety device. It is not a weapon. That message has to be re-introduced and re-educated to young athletes.”

Reid says one way around the problem is not wearing any equipment in practice.

Story continues below advertisement
“You ingrain how to do it right so when you add the equipment later, [the kids] already know how to use it properly,” he says. “When you put the equipment on young kids too early, they tend to use the equipment to defend themselves.”

Reid says the BrainShield decals can be ordered through their Kickstarter campaign. He also plans to talk to football teams and coaches in the off-season about possible team orders.

Sponsored content