LB James Harrison endorses CRT padding usage in helmets
One of the league’s most vicious hitters, James Harrison acknowledged on Tuesday that he’s sustained “double digit'' hits resulting in concussion over an 11-year NFL career. Although James Harrison added that he’s never missed a game in his career, the four-time Pro-Bowler admitted he’s not wary to the horrific lifelong-effects of brain trauma resulting from concussions.
Hence, last season James Harrison decided to take matters of health in his own hands and implemented a special padding (CRT) inside his helmet to reduce the impact of hits.
"I haven't seen any spots or had any blackouts,'' James Harrison stated on Tuesday.
The 34-year-old James Harrison was the first player to put the CRT padding developed by the Unequal Technologies into practical use in the NFL.
Prior to James Harrison’s safety initiatives, Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Michael Vick used flak jacket lined with military-grade Kevlar inside his helmet in the 2010 season.
Like every player out there, James Harrison started feeling a stronger impact of the concussion in his later years. In lieu of the NFL’s upgrade on players’ equipment to protect them against concussions, James Harrison started searching for a little extra protection himself, which became even more urgent after the 2-time Super Bowl champion fractured his right orbital bone the previous season.
Charlie Batch, Pittsburgh Steelers backup quarterback and a member of the NFLPA introduces player representatives from around the league to the CRT so as to expand its usage.
That’s where James Harrison caught the CRT bug.
Over the past 12 months, nearly 100 players from across the league have adopted usage of the green, quarter-inch military-grade Kevlar for lining the inside of their helmets; although James Harrison was the pioneer.
The padding can be easily cut into shapes to adjust inside the helmet and while it adds nearly 3-4 ounces, the extra weight is totally worth the burden it lifts of your mind in terms of safety concerns.
"To protect my head I'd take a pound more,'' claimed James Harrison.
While Unequal Technologies president Robert Vito revealed that the CRT doesn’t claim to prevent form concussions, data collected from players at diverse level in contact sports reveals that the padding can help to reduce the recurrence of concussions.
And the NFL’s 2009 Defensive Player of the Year, James Harrison believes that the usage of CRT will soon catch-on across the league.
James Harrison bases his argument on the NFL’s approach to preventing future concussions. While the NFL has imposed out "crazy fines'' on players for illegal hits, it has failed to take serious measures in updating the equipment in light of recent technological advance.
"The league is mandating next year that we wear thigh and knee pads,'' stated James Harrison. “I don't know how many people's career has been ended on a thigh or knee bruise.
“We have guys now that are 30, 31 years old that are having to quit the game because they have severe headaches,” argued James Harrison. “I think you should be focusing more on (the helmet) than knee or thigh pads.''