Headrite Sports

Goalkeeper dives to catch a ball

Design & prototyping of a safety release mechanism

Multiple images of brain scans

Soccer training apparatus

Headrite Sports is a sports company based in Co. Galway. It is focused on innovation in player welfare and skill improvement when heading footballs. Headrite Sports has developed an innovative soccer training apparatus that increases heading proficiency while decreasing head injuries in football. The training is designed to improve players timing and incorporates wearable technology to monitor performance.

Tensile testing equipment

As part of the system, a safety release mechanism needed to be designed, prototyped and tested. The release mechanism needed to be able to withstand maximum loading during normal use (heading the ball) but release the ball when a higher weight is applied; i.e. a player hanging off the ball or becoming entangled, which would cause a safety hazard, the danger of strangulation, and risk the whole unit collapsing. Initially to ascertain a guideline of what heading forces were involved, portable tensile testing equipment was employed with a number of users heading the ball in order to determine maximum heading forces in normal usage.

Male in black t-shirt heading a football on football pitch


Irish company


prototypes developed


Innovation Voucher

“We were fortunate to have AIT designing and testing the Headrite Sports release mechanism as part of the EI Innovation Voucher scheme. The expertise and insight they provided was cutting edge.”

Mark Herrick
Headrite Sports

The Headrite Sports & AIT partnership

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining was chosen as a production method, due to the relatively low volumes required at this stage. Concepts for the release mechanism were developed and some initial prototyping was carried out in-house using a SLA. These were tested for release force and then used as a guide for verification to develop a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) study. This FEA study allowed Headrite Sports to design an appropriate release force based on a chosen material and its relative flexural modulus and strength (Nylon 6). Further prototypes were built from CNC machining and further testing was completed in-house using tensile testing equipment to verify the functional release force.

The functional prototypes that were verified with testing with 3D CAD, plus 2D drawings with tolerances and material specifications allowed the company to produce a batch of release mechanism components. These release mechanisms were then fitted to the full apparatus which could allow the company to release the product to the market and for further user testing and development.

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