The Best Inventions of 2021
November 10, 2021 6:13 AM EST

In college and pro football, offensive and defensive linemen crash helmets when the ball is snapped, resulting in more than twice as many head impacts during games as other players sustain. The Zero2 Trench from VICIS is the first position-specific helmet approved for in-game use in the pros. Engineers added an extra layer of protection, a force-absorbing outer shell made of deformable plastic, to the front of the helmet, where linemen are more likely to get hit. In its annual ratings of a football helmet’s ability to reduce concussion risk, Virginia Tech gave the Zero2 Trench ($799–$999) its top score. VICIS says some 50 to 60 top college programs, and 30 out of 32 NFL teams, have put in orders for the helmet. —Sean Gregory

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