The Virginia Tech University Helmet Lab l released its inaugural last week VIRGINIA TECH® Flag Football Headgear Ratings™, awarding VICIS’ ULTIM Cap the highest available “5 STAR” rating. The newly launched ULTIM cap rated highest of all 12 brands of headgear tested according to Virginia Tech’s STAR methodology and was one of only two to receive a 5 STAR rating. Virginia Tech findings showed that the ULTIM cap resulted in a six times greater reduction in concussion risk than the next best headgear.
According to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, there are more than 6.5 million participants playing flag football in the U.S., and leagues dedicated to flag and other non-contact versions of the sport, like 7v7, are sprouting up all over the country. As both sports continue to grow, so too do injury rates. While there aren’t conclusive studies with comparative data on head injury rates between 7v7/flag vs. tackle football, what is clear is that incidental contact causes head injuries, and soft headgear can help reduce impact forces from those collisions.
Featuring a low-profile version of the same VICIS RFLX® technology found in VICIS’ top-performing ZERO1 and ZERO1 YOUTH helmets, which is the best testing helmet in the history of the VIRGINIA TECH® YOUTH HELMET RATINGS™, the ULTIM Cap offers a highly engineered, thin-walled layer designed to manage impact energy, and delivers an unlimited field of view to elevate play and enable fast reaction time.
“When we launched ULTIM, we didn’t just want to provide protection at every level of football – we wanted to provide the absolute highest level of protection,” said Dave Marver, VICIS CEO and co-founder. “For nearly a decade, parents and coaches have turned to Virginia Tech for objective, scientifically rigorous ratings to help educate purchasing decisions, and we’re proud to be rated the top-performing option in the game for flag football.”
Since 2011, Virginia Tech researchers have provided unbiased helmet ratings. However, headgear for flag football has entered the market in a regulatory vacuum, with no required safety standard like the ones that set impact-protection thresholds for helmets in varsity football, hockey, cycling, and other sports. This led Virginia Tech Helmet Lab to begin testing flag football headgear this year evaluating the headgear’s ability to reduce linear and rotational acceleration of the head resulting from impacts a flag football player might see on the field.
“We are very excited to add the ULTIM Caps as another safety measure for our athletes, especially during our off-season preparations,” said JSerra Catholic Head Football Coach Pat Harlow. “The ULTIM Cap is going to allow us to practice at a high tempo and with the physicality we need to prepare for our toughest schedule in 2019 while still being as safe as we can in regard to head protection.”
VICIS is already taking team orders for the ULTIM Cap. Online preorders for individuals are available now.