Air (Bladders) < back

In the 1970s two helmet manufacturers, Schutt Sports and Riddell, introduced football helmets that contained inflatable, vinyl bladders. The idea was simple: once a player strapped on his/her helmet, they would attach a pump to an inflation port on the rear of the helmet shell and inflate the vinyl bladders; this would help provide an optimal fit and improve impact attenuation. For the same reasons, Bell incorporated air bladders into bicycle helmets in the 1990s.

Inflatable liner pads are widely used in football helmets today, though there is some debate regarding the efficacy of air bladders. In order for the technology to be effective, players must inflate bladders to optimal levels and maintain proper air pressures over time.

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