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Congressman Tim Ryan Hails Selection of Youngstown for NFL Helmet Challenge Kickoff

September 12, 2019
Press Release
NFL holds $3 million contest to find who can build better helmet technology

Youngstown, Ohio – Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) hails selection of Youngstown, Ohio for National Football League (NFL) Helmet Challenge symposium, a $3 million contest to find who can build a better helmet to protect players from head traumatic injuries. In the 2018 NFL season, there were 214 reported concussions, down from 281 in 2017. The helmet challenge is part of a larger initiative from the NFL called the Engineering Roadmap. According to the organization, it’s a comprehensive effort to improve the understanding of the biomechanics of head injuries in professional football and to create incentives for helmet manufacturers, small businesses, entrepreneurs, universities and others to develop and commercialize new and improved protective equipment, including helmets. The symposium will be held November 13-15.

“There’s no better place to host the NFL Helmet Challenge symposium than in Youngstown, Ohio. As the home of America Makes, the Youngstown Business Incubator, and Youngstown State University, our city is at the forefront of innovation and technology and has become the world-leader in the field of 3-D printing and advanced manufacturing. These technologies will be critical in increasing the safety of our athletes. Concussions are a widespread and persistent issue not just for athletes competing in the NFL, but in our nation’s colleges, high schools, middle schools, and youth leagues. This is a problem that cannot wait to be fixed. As a former quarterback and the father of a high school football player, this issue hits close to home. The NFL Helmet Challenge and its kickoff symposium here in Youngstown is a great first step towards reducing head traumatic injuries and ensuring our athletes can compete safely on the field,” said Congressman Ryan. “I have to believe that the NFL would not have made the decision to come to Youngstown if it wasn’t for the amazing work being done at American Makes, and I am proud to have been able to help secure the federal funds needed to open up this innovative institute. I look forward to continuing to work together to keep our community on the cutting edge of these technologies.”

Youngstown is the premier innovation hub in the country – home to America Makes and Youngstown Business Incubator. In 2012, Congressman Ryan secured an $85 million public-private partnership investment to create the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, which is now known as America Makes, which helps accelerate and innovate additive manufacturing and 3-D printing to increase our nation’s global manufacturing competitiveness. The Youngstown Business Incubator supports local businesses and entrepreneurs, while promoting innovative technology and long-term sustainable employment opportunities—with a focus on information technology and advanced manufacturing.