New football helmet is designed to absorb impact

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

Part of the thrill of any football game is the sheer power of the players. Amazing tackles, big hits, massive blocks.

But as we are seeing more and more all those on field collisions are taking a toll on players, with concussions and other brain injuries.

“This is what this game is, it has always been violent. There have always been collisions. And it is going to happen; that is just what this game has evolved to,” said Cardinals linebacker, Karlos Dansby.

[RELATED: Concussion study reveals most Valley parents will let kids play football]

Some people say the very thing designed to protect players, their helmet, may actually be part of the problem.

“If you compare innovation in the auto industry, with innovation in football helmets, we are way behind," said Rich Curren, with helmet maker VICIS. "They are basically like cars from the '70s hard shell, padding on the inside. Good luck.”

VICIS has developed something called the Zero 1 helmet. It is actually worn by several NFL players, including some Arizona Cardinals.

[READ MORE: Flexible NFL helmet aims to reduce head injuries]

Some of the most notable players using the helmet are David Johnson and Dansby, who says, “This is what I need to protect myself so I am going to use it to the best of my ability and if they have new technology in it, I am going to try it out and see how it feels.”

The difference can be seen when you see the company's test video showing how the helmet actually “gives” in a head-on collision.

“We have the impact absorbing layer which consists of columns of filaments. These rods deform and eventually buckle, they can respond to impacts from any angle,” the company says.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Arizona Cardinals]

If you think that kind of hit doesn't happen in real life, you just have to think about a hit  Adrian Peterson took in the game against the Jaguars. Peterson went head first into the turf with two opposing players right on top of him. He is still trying to work his way back on the field because of a neck injury from that hit.

[RELATED: Chandler HS senior quits football due to concussion]

The Zero 1 has earned top scores in a number of helmet tests the NFL has conducted. Dansby says so far for him the biggest difference is that it is heavier, but that is a small price to pay to protect his brain.

“It is heavier than helmets I have had before, so it is different.”  Does it make Dansby less aerodynamic? “Absolutely,” he says, “but it is all about the protection.”

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