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NFL launches helmet safety program worth up to $3 million

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) gets up after his helmet was pulled off, during the first half at an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

NEW YORK (AP) -- The NFL has launched the Helmet Challenge aiming to stimulate the development of a new helmet for players that outperforms, based on laboratory testing, all helmet models currently worn in the league.

Up to $3 million will be available in the challenge, including $2 million in grant funding to support of the development of a helmet prototype, and a $1 million award.

The challenge will culminate in May 2021 with applicants submitting helmet prototypes for testing in laboratory conditions that represent potentially concussive impacts in the NFL. Applicants will compete for up to a $1 million award.

''Helmet technology is advancing at an impressive rate. Yet, we believe that even more is possible,'' said Jeff Miller, the league's executive vice president for health and safety innovation. ''The NFL Helmet Challenge represents an unprecedented combination of financing, research, data and engineering expertise in an effort to create a more protective helmet.

''Innovation can be catalyzed if we engage with creative and talented people from across disciplines to attack this challenge together. In collaboration with the NFL Players Association, we are making changes on and off the field in an effort to improve protection for every player. Trying to ensure that players wear the best possible helmet is a substantial part of that commitment.''

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