New Chin Strap Lock Helps Secure Helmets as Football and Sports-Related Concussions Rise

The Richmond-based NogginLOC inventor hopes widespread adoption of new chin strap fastener system will decrease sports injuries. The lock will help keep helmets in place and can be adapted to many sports--including football.

Richmond, VA, January 10, 2013 --( Inspired by the growing chorus of parents concerned about head injuries, inventor Allen Bancroft went to work to find a way to make football helmets safer by ensuring they stay on during plays. The result is NogginLOCTM, a fastening “system” that keeps chin straps securely attached to helmets even through a violent tackle or fall.

“Watching helmets fly off heads during football games and then hearing the stories about debilitating concussions in young athletes made me explore whether there were better options to keep helmets in place,” explained Allen Bancroft, founder and CEO, J&A Innovations, LLC. “What I learned was that sporting good firms are re-engineering the whole helmet to better protect athletes—except for the chin strap fasteners. I had an idea to improve it, which is now called NogginLOC.”

Two years in the making, NogginLOC (patent pending) is a mechanical fastening "system" designed to keep chin straps attached securely to helmets of all types. NogginLOC uses a unique recessed pin and socket attached to the helmet, and a receptacle fastener mounted on the chin strap itself. Joining the two pieces together creates a secure connection that keeps the helmet safely on the head. NogginLOC can withstand tremendous pressure and is significantly more secure than fasteners currently on the market. At the same time, NogginLOC can be very easily undone, even by small children.

“Concussions aren’t completely avoidable, but great equipment can play an important role in reducing the incidence of them. Helmets have to stay on heads to be most effective. And since football is not the only source of concussions, NogginLOC can also be adapted to helmets used in other sports,” explained Bancroft, who is an electrical engineer and holds 10 other patents in robotics navigation and mechanical systems. “My goal is to make this strap widely available to prevent more injuries among athletes.”

The need for better head protection is great…and growing. Football causes the highest number of concussions among high school athletes, according to a report by Boston Children’s Hospital which ran in Current Opinion in Pediatrics. The report also estimated that “2.5 concussions occur for every 10,000 athletic exposures, in which an athletic exposure is defined as one athlete participating in one game or practice.”

Also startling, according to the CDC, emergency rooms treat more than 173,000 sports and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, among children and teens annually—a number that has increased 60 percent over the last decade. A majority of the visits were by boys (71%), who most often sustained them through football or bicycling. Soccer and bicycling were the most common reasons for girls.

As part of the development process, Bancroft received feedback and guidance from coaches, football players—including former Redskins great Ken Harvey, sports-related associations, and parents, including Laura LaChance of Avon, Connecticut, who explained: “My son, who plays high school football, got rocked during a recent game, sustaining a bad concussion. I was petrified when we learned about the injury and seriousness of concussions. He’s doing well now, but I am concerned about the quality of equipment and how concussions are dealt with. My son loves football, so I’m not proposing quitting sports. But we should do all we can to protect our kids’ brains from long-term harm. I hope that NogginLOC and other improvements to helmets as well as a shared respect for these injuries in the sports community are adopted very soon.”

Bancroft is now reaching out to equipment companies to find ways to take the invention to market as fast as possible. To learn more about NogginLOC and how it can further protect athletes, visit
Shawn Flaherty