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  • Writer's pictureMichael Princip

Bulwark to the Schutt F7

Updated: Jan 8, 2022

Circa 2010, a concept helmet utilizing advanced materials which work with movable plates that manage and diminish impact. Plates could be interchanged for different player or position scenarios potentially.

Further developed the overall concept from the first Bulwark prototype, however laden with a TPU padding system, very similar in design to Schutt’s TPU system, although this system interacted between an inner and outer shell design.

There were variants as well, which had fixed flexible panels that simply depress into one direction for impact attenuation. A slotted shell rather than free floating panels.

Below are drawings we did for the first patented concept flex panel helmet. Developed in collaboration with former Riddell CEO and father of the modern day shoulder pad, J.C. Wingo.

I started developing other variants for free floating panels, and one concept was a single shell which contained recessed channels to house tpu padding.

I started working with Schutt Sports to further develop concepts and eventually a football helmet with them.

Schutt F7

While at Schutt, I created various different test models from their existing helmets which recreated and tested the validity of the floating panel concept. When I started modeling the surfacing for what became the F7, I wanted to apply mecha type line technique to panel shapes, access for tpu fasteners, and venting. I also referenced a vintage Bike/Air helmet's serrated back neck bumper and made a modern day version for the F7.

Formlines that harness and bolster shell.

Bulwark Impressions

Just before I started working for Schutt and a couple years after the Bulwark article came out, Schutt Sports released their Vengeance line of facemasks. It was a line inspired by the sinuous curves found on the EGOP style Bulwark faceguard.

After the Schutt Vengeance came out, Riddell released their Speedflex helmets. A helmet design which featured an impact attenuating front flex panel. Looking further into the development of the Speedflex, via their patent application, there is clear evidence that the Bulwark made an impression and influenced the design of the Speedflex, as there were claims for a multi segmented panel version of the Speedflex as well.

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