Last week the Canadian media reported progress by researchers and engineers at the University of British Columbia designing a new helmet that will reduce the risk of spinal cord injuries in head-first collisions during sports activities. Called the "Pro-Neck-Tor," and designed for sports such as hockey and football, the helmet has an inner shell that will guide the head to tilt slightly forward or backward on impact, and thereby reduce the load on the neck during impact. The reduced weight on the neck, in turn, would lower the risk of spinal cord injury from a collision.
Engineers working on the helmet said it is still in the design stages and, depending on how fast testing progresses, could take between three to 10 years to become available commercially in the sporting goods market. Researchers anticipate that the helmet would be marketed first to hockey players due to the relatively higher incidence of spinal cord injuries suffered by players in that sport.