High-impact collisions are part of the game of football. Today's players are bigger, stronger and faster than their counterparts of yesteryear. But their most important piece of equipment hasn't kept pace.
The first football helmets were little more than open-faced skull caps with leather padding. Later, a plastic shell with a foam insert and facemask became standard. The helmet's basic structure hasn't changed much since the 1950s.
But grim facts about head injuries have surfaced in recent years. And the past two years have seen professional players as well as parents and coaches of youth sports players begin to be more aware of the danger of repeated concussions and the importance of preventing brain injuries.