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Original Issue

Light Headed

After decades of durable service, the football helmet seems to
have reached its design limits. Ask any player in the NFL who
has suffered a concussion and he'll agree. Ask Troy Aikman. Ask
Steve Young. Better yet, ask Chris Miller, the former Los
Angeles Rams quarterback who had to retire in 1995 because he'd
been knocked silly so many times. Miller returned to the league
this season with the Denver Broncos, only to go down on Nov. 22
with the sixth concussion of his career.

A new helmet, the Pro-Edition ($129.95), made by Bike Athletic
Co. of Knoxville, Tenn., offers an alternative to the Riddell
helmet, currently used in the NFL, and other models used at
colleges. Weighing just 1.5 pounds, the Pro-Edition is about 30%
lighter than its predecessors, which should help to reduce the
impact of a collision. The manufacturer also says the Pro-Edition
is more comfortable to wear, despite its larger size. The back of
the helmet's outer shell more closely conforms to the back of the
skull, improving fit, and larger ear holes help to increase

Pros who wear the Pro-Edition helmet include Miami Dolphins
linebacker and NFL Players Association president Trace Armstrong
(he is not a paid endorser of the helmet), and Dallas Cowboys
defensive back Darren Woodson. It was also used this season by
players at Notre Dame, Michigan and Nebraska. For more
information, check on the Web at

--Mark Beech