A football helmet is an essential piece of equipment that all players, regardless of age or skill level, depend upon to protect their heads, necks, and spines during a tackle or collision with another player. Of course, players and their loved ones reasonably expect that football helmets will prevent the type of catastrophic or fatal injuries known to result from the extremely forceful impacts they regularly endure. Sadly, the truth is that many football helmets are built with design or manufacturing defects or are not properly maintained or fitted, which makes it impossible for them to provide the kind of protection players depend on. Even worse, some helmet companies have falsely marketed that their helmets reduce the risk of concussions. In recent years, football players and their loved ones have filed lawsuits against helmet makers and have recovered substantial compensation for their damages and suffering.


In 2000, a biomechanics company gave helmet maker Riddell a warning: Football helmets, no matter how well they protect against skull fractures, cannot protect against concussions. Riddell, however, gave the warning little notice and claimed that its "Revolution" football helmet would reduce the risk of concussion injury by 31%.


In 2008, a high school football player was hit hard during a football drill, causing serious brain injuries and paralysis to the left side of his body. His coaches failed to take him to the hospital immediately after the injury. A Colorado jury later held that the high school football player was entitled to $11.5 million in damages and that Riddell, who manufactured the helmet used by the football player, was responsible for 27% of the damages, or $3.1 million. While the jury did not hold that Riddell's helmets were defective, it held that the company failed to warn athletes of the concussion dangers. As the plaintiff's lawyer said, "What it proves is that Riddell knew for sure in November of 2000 that they had a problem with their testing of these helmets and didn't disclose it to anybody."


In 2006, Riddell began marketing their “Revolution” helmet as being able to reduce concussions by 31%. However, this marketing campaign was based on one study funded by the helmet maker and not substantiated. In addition, Riddell had received a report by a biomechanics firm showing that no football helmet would be able to prevent concussions.


On January 4, 2011, U.S. Senator Tom Udall from New Mexico, requested that the FTC investigate “false and misleading” concussion claims advertised by football helmet manufacturers such as Riddell.


In a press release, the senator said,

“I hope football helmet makers improve their products to address concussion risks. It is simply unacceptable for sports equipment companies to falsely advertise their products to athletes, coaches and parents with claims of providing a level of safety that does not yet exist… I am even more troubled by misleading marketing claims by Riddell, a leading helmet maker that supplies the official helmet to the National Football League (NFL). The Riddell website’s online helmet store prominently claims that: Research shows a 31% reduction in the risk of concussion in players wearing a Riddell Revolution football helmet when compared to traditional helmets* Designed for performance with Revolution Concussion Reduction Technology built-In. *Neurosurgery, February 2006, Vol. 58, No. 2.”


The Riddell “Revolution” became the most widely used helmet in the NFL earning the company millions in sales. It has also been marketed to players in college, high school and youth leagues.




Riddell, the official helmet maker for the NFL from 1989 - 2014, is a named defendant in multiple lawsuits involving thousands of former NFL players who believe they were not properly warned about the dangers of concussion injuries.


Former pro football hall of fame player Paul Hornung recently sued Riddell, the manufacturer of the helmets he used during his years in the League. The lawsuit alleges he suffered concussions and sub-concussive brain trauma while wearing Riddell's helmets.  He further alleges that these helmets provided no protection from brain injuries.  Yet, players "were led to believe that the innovative helmets would do so."


Riddell has also been sued by Chelsea Oliver, the widow of former NFL player Paul Oliver.  Paul Oliver played five seasons in the NFL and was diagnosed with CTE after his death.

Hornung and Oliver are not alone in their suits against Riddell. 


FrancoLaw currently represents former NFL players in cases stemming from concussion-related injuries suffered during their careers and recently filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against Riddell. (Cutrera, et al. vs. Riddell Sports Group, Inc., et al., Case No. 2017-L-000562).


The lawsuit claims that Riddell’s helmets provided no protection for players brain, yet players, including plaintiffs, were led to believe that the innovative helmets would do so. Players played with a false sense of security and their helmets did nothing to prevent the types of brain injuries that lead to long-term brain damage.  Riddell never warned plaintiffs about the real risk of permanent cognitive and mental health issues linked to repetitive head trauma.


In football and other competitive sports, concussions can cause significant, lifelong injury. Recent studies have shown that former NFL players between 30 and 49 years old are 19 times more likely to face memory-related diseases than the general population. Both the NFL and Riddell have created an environment in which players feel safer than they actually are. Because players do not understand the full extent of the risks, many end up with lifelong injuries they never expected.


If you or a loved one were diagnosed with a brain injury after sustaining a concussion while wearing a Riddell helmet, it may be possible to recover compensation for your injuries by holding helmet makers accountable for disregarding player safety and misrepresenting the protective capabilities of their helmets.


Former NFL players are particularly urged to call us as you may qualify for the Riddell Concussion Lawsuit in addition to the NFL Concussion Settlement for which our firm is also filing claims on behalf of former players who are suffering from the consequences of repetitive head trauma. For more information, or to speak with someone about your potential case, please call us toll-free at 1.888.213.0761 or fill out our free case review form. FrancoLaw is experienced in handling sports injury cases and we welcome any questions you may have.