Tuesday August 23rd, 2016

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Vicis, a new-wave helmet distributor has been raising millions of dollars and made news in August when it announced it would provide gear for the Washington Huskies.

But there was a slight hiccup with their progress recently.

The company recently pulled its helmets from the Huskies football training camp due to “non-safety related refinements toward fit and comfort,” according to a UW statement. For the first time since their deal with Vicis, the Huskies will be wearing Riddell helmets during practice, and are planning to wear them during the 2016–17 season.

The move is frustrating for the relatively new company. “Obviously a little bit disappointing,” UW coach Chris Petersen said in a statement. “But I have a lot of respect for Vicis, getting it right, wanting them back, and we’ll fix it. I think when you’re trying to be on the cutting edge of innovating, it’s never going to be seamless process. They’re the ones that came to us [Wednesday morning] and said we want them back to look at them and make them right.”

This misstep is unfamiliar territory for a company that has thrived during their rise. Vicis has performed 20-50% better in head trauma reduction tests in comparison to Riddell and Schutt. Along with that, Vicis also won the NFL’s Head Health Challenge (winning $750,000) and $4 million more in funding from 60 other investors.

But Vicis recalled its helmets from both Washington and Oregon, which had also been testing the gear during camp. The specific issues involved the forehead padding and chinstrap, and Vicis has not said when it will be able to correct the issues.

The helmet itself, the Vicis Zero1, was created to lessen the impact on a player’s head and size the helmet specifically to a player’s head so there is no movement when impact occurs. The helmet itself is devised into three parts, which ensure maximum safety. The “Lode Shell” acts like a car bumper deforming on impact, the “Vicis RFLX” features a hard shell exterior and padding on the interior and finally, the “FORM Liner” is the inner foam surrounding a player’s head.

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