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As published on Geekwire:

Vicis, the high-tech football helmet maker based in Seattle, had several key developments this week.

The company announced an additional $7 million in funding, and has now raised nearly $50 million since spinning out of the University of Washington in 2014. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson participated in the funding round — Wilson, who also just launched his own media startup, is among a group of players from more than 15 NFL teams and 20 NCAA programs who are wearing the helmet this season.

The $1,500 ZERO1 helmet, which finished first in the NFL’s 2017 Helmet Laboratory Testing Performance Results, is designed to mitigate the forces thought to cause concussions. Unlike traditional helmets, the outer shell on the ZERO1 is deformable and yields much like a car bumper upon impact. There is also a layer of flexible columns in the helmet that can absorb impact before it reaches a head.

Vicis CEO Dave Marver. (Photo via Vicis)

Vicis CEO Dave Marver. (Photo via Vicis)

It’s too early to assess the impact of Vicis’ helmet in regard to helping reduce the amount of concussions suffered by NFL players. The technology certainly doesn’t prevent head injuries completely — Falcons lineman Ryan Schraeder, who is wearing the helmet, sat out two games because of a concussion in September, though he noted that “it would have happened with any helmet,” ESPN reported.

Still, investors and players themselves are putting their support behind Vicis.

“My experience wearing the ZERO1 this season has been exceptional,” Wilson said in a statement. “The custom fit and wide field of vision have allowed me to perform at my best. I invested in VICIS because I believe in our mission and I want to help all the kids playing sports have access to the best available technology.”

Another big announcement: Notre Dame said it will equip a “majority” of its team with the Vicis helmet next season.

“We already have some guys wearing the ZERO1 this year and, based on the positive feedback, we’re looking forward to near-full adoption next season,” Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said in a statement.

Vicis also announced the general availability of its helmet to any football players at the high school level and above. Athletes can pre-order the helmet, with an expected delivery by July 31 of next year for orders placed by March 31 — in time for the 2018 football season.

While the company is starting with NFL and college athletes, it’s always been Vicis’ mission to get its helmet into the high school ranks and other youth leagues.