If football is going to survive and look anything like the current iteration, player safety must improve. Concussions and CTE are at the front of almost everyone's mind when it comes to the future of the game and equipment manufacturers are playing catch up when it comes to preventing traumatic head injuries.
At Big 12 Media Days, commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced the league and helmet manufacturer VICIS partnered to supply each team with fifteen of VICIS' Zero 1 model which retails for $950. VICIS, a Washington state-based company, uses engineers and neurosurgeons to develop a multilayered, highly-engineered helmet design that mitigates linear and rotational impact forces. NFL players like Richard Sherman and Alex Smith consult with VICIS.
The early returns are good; the helmet is rated first by both the NFL/NFLPA testing and Virginia Tech's Biomedical and Engineering Department. You can see Virginia Tech's results here.
VICIS redesigned the entire helmet, even where the chin strap attaches, to create a helmet able to withstand more shock. Oddly the outer shell is actually "softer" than other helmets, taking advantage of crumple zone technology, while the interior of the helmet is harder than its counterparts.
Washington and Oregon used the helmets in spring practice before the 2016 season but complained about the feel of the helmet. VICIS took the input and tweaked its design then sent the helmet back to the two schools and several others including UAB for use in the 2017 season.
VICIS is quick to point out that they do not eliminate concussions, but claim to make the game safer.
Baylor is using the helmet for the "majority" of its players for the 2018 season. Texas A&M used the helmet last season as well.