James Harrison estimates that he has had double-digit concussions in his career. That's not necessarily surprising considering his style of play. Fast and hard. Harrison is known for his intensity and his pure defensive skill. But he has paid a price. The Pittsburgh Steelers' linebacker has battled concussions, but he has taken it upon himself to fix the problem.
According to CBS Sports, Harrison became the first player to use a new style of helmet that had CRT padding in it. The helmet is stuffed with similar padding to what military personnel use for their own protection. The helmets are heavier, but Harrison doesn't seem to mind.
"To protect my head, I'd take a pound more," Harrison said.
Harrison is one of the more polarizing players in the NFL. His hard hits are often the sources of fines from the commissioners office and the jumping off point for player safety and discussions about whether or not he is a dirty player. However, he is effective. No matter what side of the fence you stand on, there's no doubt Harrison's play has helped the Steelers.
Harrison is a four-time Pro Bowler and was the 2009 Defensive Player of the year. He has two Super Bowl rings with the Steelers and has 59 sacks in his career. Last season, Harrison had nine sacks and 50 tackles. It was actually a step back from years past. In 2010, Harrison had 10.5 sacks and 70 tackles.
The Steelers are aging on defense, but players lIke Harrison still play a vital role. Keeping him on the field and as healthy as possible is important. The new helmet seems to do that.