Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott has shown up to OTAs sporting a brand new helmet. One reason is comically simple.
“They come out with the new Ford F-150,'' Elliott joked. “You got the old one, you want the new one.”
Elliott, who has worn the Riddell Speedflex since his college tenure at Ohio State University, is making the switch to the newest model: the Riddell Axiom.
But there are other more important reasons for the switch.
The Axiom, aside from looking like something straight out of "Power Rangers,'' features the latest advancements in helmet technology aimed at prioritizing player safety and minimizing impact forces on players' heads.
Riddell's website has a whole list of impressive techniques the company has used to make sure its helmet quality remains robust, especially for the Axiom. One of these techniques includes taking 3D scans of players' heads to make custom helmet shapes.
Another unique change in the Axiom is that the top bar of the facemask is being removed, allowing for a wider field of view for players.
Lastly, Axiom helmets contain multiple sensors, allowing for real-time analysis of impacts. With this technology, head injuries can be much more easily predicted, and players have the potential to avoid much more serious injuries.
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The Axiom marks another step towards ameliorating the NFL's approach to combatting traumatic brain injuries like CTE.
Elliott, being one of the first players in the league to don the new helmet, could end up being a trendsetter in a new "default" style of football helmet -- especially given his status as a star ("with something to prove'') in the NFL.
Despite dealing with a partial PCL tear from October of the 2021 season, Elliott managed to accumulate 1,002 rushing yards. He's healthy now - he joked that his 22 MPH timing recently was "wind-aided'' - and as a perennially top-notch running back in the league, his endorsement of the new gear could be especially meaningful.
“This,'' said Elliott of his equipment, "is probably like the biggest change I’ve had.”
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