HOF Artifact of the Week
This week's featured artifact is a helmet from former Bills player Mark Kelso. The helmet has a protective “Pro Cap” helmet attached. Mark Kelso played as a safety from 1986-1993. Kelso suffered from four concussions from 1988-1989. Bills trainer Adam Abramoski became concerned and suggested a padded helmet attachment called “Pro Cap” for the 1990 season.
Two other NFL players also used this helmet attachment - Steve Wallace of the San Francisco 49ers and Randy Dixon of the Indianapolis Colts. The helmet gave Kelso the nickname the “Great Gazoo” (which was a cartoon character on the Flintstones).
Kelso eventually became an investor in “Pro Cap” and claims it extended his career. In 1992 he intercepted seven passes which tied his career high. The “Pro Cap” helmet did not catch on, however, as most players didn’t like the look of it and there were concerns that the weight of the helmet could cause neck injuries. Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly actually traded Kelso for this helmet and then gave it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002.
Our weekly artifacts and other unique items are featured daily in our docent presentations for visitors of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Plan your visit to the Hall to learn more about the collection in our archives.
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