Future of Football Takes Center Stage at Super Bowl Competition

Updated: February 03, 2018 11:02 PM

MINNEAPOLIS -- Fans on a snowy Minnesota day are looking forward to Sunday’s game. But at one event Saturday morning, the NFL was looking much further than that.

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The latest and greatest in football technology were on display at the third annual 1st and Future event.

“We’re still stuck in the ice age. We literally still putting ice to treat our injuries,” Alex Aguiar of RecoverX said.

He was presenting a heating and cooling device that can be wrapped around joints like your knee. He said using ice is not necessarily the best thing to do for recovery.

“For cold therapy, it’s between 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit, if you can get the skin to that temperature,” Aguiar said. “For hot therapy, it’s between 104-113 degrees Fahrenheit.”

He and his partner won their category, Athletic Recovery. Nine startups competed in three categories: Athletic Recover, Protective Gear and Athletic Performance.

“Some of the new technologies and products they’re talking about really have the potential to change the game, reduce injury risk and improve recovery,” Jonathan Finnoff of the Mayo Clinic said.

Each of the three winners won $50,000 and two tickets to the Super Bowl.

“I spent six years trying to find this material and really refine it and understand it and move it forward,” Christopher Yakacki said of his company, Impressio.

He and his Impressio partner won the Protective Gear category.

“Most rubbers bounce,” Yakacki explained. “This is a foam material. It doesn’t bounce. If we take this foam, we could put it into any helmet, whether it be a hockey helmet, a football helmet, a military helmet, it will absorb more energy.”

While the judges deliberated, the crowd got to hear from a panel that included NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

Wilson said players and the NFL in general are interested in Impressio’s kind of innovation.

“Typically, you think about a hard helmet, and in the past, those helmets haven’t had any give at all. This helmet actually has give,” Wilson said, showing off a Vicis helmet, which is a company he said he has invested in.

Goodell said these events are all about learning.

“All of this is about trying to get a better understanding of the brain, of traumatic injuries, and frankly, all injuries,” he said. “This is not exclusive to concussions.”

And as for the host city, he said Minneapolis should be proud.

“I think you’re going to be on the biggest stage in the world on Sunday,” Goodell said, “and I think that’s great because you deserve it.”

Copyright 2018 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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