Engineer tackles football puzzle head-on

Having noticed the rise in attention being paid to football-related concussions, a Midlothian inventor decided to use his noggin.

Allen Bancroft, a local engineer with a background in robotics design, developed the NogginLOC: a fastener meant to hold a football helmet strap in place during even the roughest of plays.

Allen Bancroft

Allen Bancroft

Bancroft, a graduate of DeVry Institute and the University of Notre Dame, saw a need in the market for an improved strap to help keep helmets on players’ heads and to potentially help reduce the number of football-related concussions.

He has a patent pending on the device and is beginning to market the product to manufacturers.

“We have football helmets with air bags and earpieces, but for decades no one has thought to change the design of the chin strap,” said Bancroft, 46. “It’s amazing to me that we can put someone on the moon but we can’t keep a helmet on a person’s head.”

He said he invested about $2,000 in parts and started working on the idea in his basement laboratory about two year ago. Bancroft went through about five NogginLOC prototypes before settling on a design late last year.

Bancroft has plans to market the NogginLOC to manufacturers that supply football helmets players from high school to the NFL.

He’s said he’s secured an endorsement from former Redskins linebacker Ken Harvey.

“I’ve never played football a day in my life, but I saw a real need for something like this,” Bancroft said.

The fastener has multiple uses, such as securing leashes and clothes. But Bancroft said he wanted to focus on the football helmet market first because of the pressing need to reduce concussions. Attention to the long-term effects of concussions has increased in recent years amid the deaths of several former NFL players.

Just last week, a National Institutes of Health study found that Junior Seau, a former NFL linebacker who committed suicide in May, suffered from a kind of brain damage that stems from repeated head trauma.

“You’re never going to hear me say it’s guaranteed that you won’t get a concussion if you use this technology,” Bancroft said. “But I don’t think there’s a reason why we should ever see someone’s helmet fly off during a game again.”

Having noticed the rise in attention being paid to football-related concussions, a Midlothian inventor decided to use his noggin.

Allen Bancroft, a local engineer with a background in robotics design, developed the NogginLOC: a fastener meant to hold a football helmet strap in place during even the roughest of plays.

Allen Bancroft

Allen Bancroft

Bancroft, a graduate of DeVry Institute and the University of Notre Dame, saw a need in the market for an improved strap to help keep helmets on players’ heads and to potentially help reduce the number of football-related concussions.

He has a patent pending on the device and is beginning to market the product to manufacturers.

“We have football helmets with air bags and earpieces, but for decades no one has thought to change the design of the chin strap,” said Bancroft, 46. “It’s amazing to me that we can put someone on the moon but we can’t keep a helmet on a person’s head.”

He said he invested about $2,000 in parts and started working on the idea in his basement laboratory about two year ago. Bancroft went through about five NogginLOC prototypes before settling on a design late last year.

Bancroft has plans to market the NogginLOC to manufacturers that supply football helmets players from high school to the NFL.

He’s said he’s secured an endorsement from former Redskins linebacker Ken Harvey.

“I’ve never played football a day in my life, but I saw a real need for something like this,” Bancroft said.

The fastener has multiple uses, such as securing leashes and clothes. But Bancroft said he wanted to focus on the football helmet market first because of the pressing need to reduce concussions. Attention to the long-term effects of concussions has increased in recent years amid the deaths of several former NFL players.

Just last week, a National Institutes of Health study found that Junior Seau, a former NFL linebacker who committed suicide in May, suffered from a kind of brain damage that stems from repeated head trauma.

“You’re never going to hear me say it’s guaranteed that you won’t get a concussion if you use this technology,” Bancroft said. “But I don’t think there’s a reason why we should ever see someone’s helmet fly off during a game again.”

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Bruce
Bruce
9 years ago

I would be surprised to learn that football players get concussions because their helmets come off. I suspect most occur as a result of helmet to helmet collisions and helmet to ground collisions. But hey, if you can get financing, go for it. There’s always the fear motivation on the part of consumers and the helmet makers may go for it because it looks like they’re doing something about concussions.

Charles Woodson
Charles Woodson
9 years ago

Seems eerily similar to a guitar strap lock which keeps the strap from coming off the guitar. Been used for years.

Ryan Charles
Ryan Charles
9 years ago

Agree with Bruce, however helmets have seemingly been popping off more and more, so at least this would fix that problem… it’s only a matter of time until a helmet comes off and then someone gets popped without it (players don’t stop when their helmets come off).

Tom Cote
Tom Cote
9 years ago

A concussion is the LEAST of the injuries that can result from losing the helmet. Fractured skull, and traumatic brain injuries can happen when there is no helmet. That’s why the helmet is there in the first place.

sara
sara
9 years ago

anything to keep the helmet on..in skiing, on motorcycles (if people would wear their helmets in the first place), dkateboarding, snowboarding…it’s a piece of equipment that should be easy to put on, and not so easy to accidentally take off!
TBI (traumatic brain injsury) is one of the most devastating injuries anyone can have.

CMB CMB
CMB CMB
9 years ago

The NogginLOC concept/product is a step in the right direction!!! Like Allen said, it’s about time the fastener was improved — thanks to Allen my loved ones have a better chance of protecting their precious noggins.

joe clifford
joe clifford
9 years ago

Great to see someone taking charge! Football has replaced baseball as our true national (sports) pastime, and it’s not going anywhere. Still, the sport cripples its players, and fans demand a certain product. The best we can hope for is to make the game as safe as possible for all participants. It’s a tragedy that so many football players, pro and amateur alike, leave the game shells of their former selves, some unable to walk or carry out the simplest day-to-day functions. All for the sake of entertainment. So sad. It’s wonderful Allen is spearheading an effort to protect a… Read more »