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Urethane Football Helmet Cover

Exclusive: Chesco firm tackles football's concussion problem with helmet cover

Defend Your Head CEO John Roman


A Chester County company is launching a revamped version of a product it says will help reduce head trauma in football players, and, eventually, athletes in all contact sports.

Defend Your Head of Chester Springs, Pa., has developed the Protech, a patented shell made of specialized polyurethane foam that fits over existing helmets to reduce the risk of brain injury due to blunt force trauma.

The foam is designed to absorb and dissipate the energy caused by a hit, extending the time of impact to the cranium and reducing the risk of traumatic brain injury.

John Roman, a former New York Jets lineman who became a financial services executive after retiring from the NFL, is CEO of Defend Your Head.

He said the Protech was tested at a small number of Division IV colleges last year and will be tested at another 15 college football programs this spring.


“We have over 125 programs placing orders next year for personal testing and practices,” Roman said. “We are convinced once players wear the the product they will really see the difference.… Our goal is for every youth player in our market to have a Protech.”

Roman, who roomed with former Philadelphia Eagle Vince Papale when they were both members of the Philadelphia Bells in the short-lived World Football League, is part of a team with strong ties to the Philadelphia region that is leading Defend Your Head.

That team also includes former Philadelphia Eagles President Joe Banner; former Villanova and Boston College Athletic Director Gene DeFilippo; former All-Ivy Princeton Football Player Glenn Tilley, who is from the city’s Frankford section, former Boston College Quarterback John Loughery and Hospital for Special Surgery’s Dr. Brian Kelly. Roman grew up in South Jersey in the city of Absecon down by the shore.

While still playing, Roman prepared for life after football my taking part-time jobs for financial services firms and training to be a securities analyst.

“When I was playing, a lot of players had two jobs,” he said. “My first contract was for $18,000 a year.” He ended up spending 34 years in the financial services industry, where he was an executive at companies ranging from Merrill Lynch to Bryn Mawr Trust. He also founded and served as managing director of Whitford Capital Advisors in Malvern, Pa.

He got pulled back into the game after talking with former players, reading about the plight of those suffering from traumatic brain injuries and wanting to help.

“This is a passion of mine,” Roman said. "The 'Concussion' movie hit home for me what we are doing here. If they paid me nothing I would would work this job for free.”

Defend Your Head is the successor to a previous company, Protective Sports Entertainment, that designed the original version of the company soft shell technology designed to fit over the outer shell of a helmet.

Roman believes the version of the protective headgear technology the Chester company has developed addresses a key issue that has hampered other products designed to protect the brain: the product’s aesthetic appeal. He said many players have, unfortunately, balked at protective gear that doesn’t look good.

“We believe, based on the feedback from college kids, that we have a very cool look,” he said.

Defend Your Head sees a market for its product beyond football and the thousands of professional players, and several million college, high school and youth league players who compete in the sport.

The company believes the potential market for its soft shell technology spans more than 270 million people worldwide across various sports such as football, biking, skiing, snow boarding, soccer, ice hockey, skate boarding, lacrosse and all contact sports. Defend Your Head also believes there is a market for its product in military, police and industrial helmet protection.