Carlsbad-based LIGHT Helmets has banned the sale of its helmets the NFL because the league recorded an increase in concussions for the 2019 season but will not release “on field” data reflecting actual concussions by helmet type and number of plays. LIGHT also believes that a conflict of interest exists with employees of the league's exclusive testing lab Biokinetics, who are actually listed on at least five patents registered with rival helmet manufacturer Riddell.
LIGHT Helmets was founded by professional athletes, retired Navy Seals, executives, and medical professionals. While they are the newest and smallest manufacturer to contract with the NFL for helmets, they are willing to lose the league's business. LIGHT Helmets' COO Justin Bert said, "we cannot participate until the NFL takes action to make fundamental change. We have to make a stand, even as a small company, toward the health and welfare of every player.”
LIGHT released an in-depth outline of the situation with documentation from the patents that name Biokinetics employees on May 12, 2020. They are urging the NFL to reconsider its use of a single viewpoint and vendor to evaluate the effectiveness (or lack therof) of the helmet used by its players.
The NFL has spent tens of millions of dollars related to helmet testing and technology grants but in spite of significant rule changes to alter the game, the number of concussion in the NFL actually increased in 2019.