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Riddell’s Axiom could be a revolutionary football helmet

Riddell has developed a football helmet that is perhaps not just the next big step in player design and safety, but a big step forward.

While the focus has been on position specific helmets for some time, Axiom is a custom helmet. It is designed and built player by player rather than position by position.

Axiom’s features are data-driven and designed to improve impact response, reduce head impact exposure (HIE), and provide unprecedented protection. Axiom includes a new fit system, a redesigned helmet shell platform, a redesigned face mask system, and integrated smart helmet technology called InSite – which analyzes and reports HIE against the database of Riddell’s 8 million player impact on the pitch.

Axiom also has a removable visor.

“We don’t want to call it a crowning glory, we get up every day and try to improve player protection,” said Thad Ide, senior vice president of research and development for Riddell. “But we think Axiom is a very different headset platform than we’ve seen before, and potentially a big step forward.”

There are several key elements of Axiom that could make it the safest head protection football – and just about any sport – ever.

The Fit System uses technology that scans the surface of a player’s head to build a helmet that matches the fit of the head. Scans can be performed on a phone app by a coach or equipment manager or player – by anyone, really. The data is loaded into Riddell’s database, then a bespoke helmet for each athlete is made.

The Axiom’s shells are designed to surround the head with a combination of flexible panels that work in tandem with internal liners and a face shield system to improve shock response.

As for the new face mask, it does away with the top bar to provide additional flex, more energy efficient material, and better shock response. A die-cast construction available in stainless steel and titanium and a unique elliptical shape will provide an unobstructed view of the pitch for every player.

“We don’t know how long it will take players to get used to seeing the pitch better,” Ide explains, “but there is also a lot of design freedom with face shields. All you can mold, you can turn the face protector into.

Among the more intriguing aspects of the Axiom is the visor, something popular with running backs, receivers, and defensive backs – around 600 players wear them – but not many other positions. Again.

It is the first football helmet to offer a standard factory-installed visor.

“There is a two-push button for removing the visor, but it’s part of the protective package inside the helmet,” Ide explains. “The feedback has been good but it’s different, and there are some players who just aren’t going to wear a visor, which is why we made it easy to take off.

“We gathered feedback from field test participants, elite varsity athletes who wore them and others left them.

“The feedback we have received is that Axiom fits like a precision helmet,” adds Ide, “that it follows the players’ heads exactly. There is no headphone lag if you turn quickly.

The versions of Axiom have been tested for use over the past three seasons at select middle and high schools. Florida State, Penn State, UCLA, Rice, Stanford, Oregon State, Bowling Green, Colorado, and SMU are among the FBS schools for players to wear.

“Personalization is the future of helmets,” says Jeff Miller, executive vice president of communications, public affairs and policy for the NFL. “This season we have seen promising developments with the first field position specific helmet and the increasing use of scanning and 3D printing for helmets worn by NFL players. Each position has unique safety features. Through innovation, which the NFL continues to promote through our fundraising contests, annual helmet testing, and sharing our data with manufacturers and contractors, players will continue to enjoy more and better choices as they evolve. alongside technology.

Axiom costs around $ 750 for NFL and elite college players – the pricing structure has not been finalized – and includes the titanium face shield and some other accessories. It will hit the market this winter, with a limited number in the field in the spring for college practices. High schools, small colleges and other varsity football institutions will have access later in the spring.

Ide also expects it to be on the NFL rating posters when they are released in the spring.

As for the extension to other sports, Ide notes that some elements of Axiom could apply to lacrosse and ice hockey.

“Other sports have different needs from football, in terms of protection and vision,” he notes. “For the most part, the fit system and head scan could extend to other sports, as well as smart technology.

“We are focusing on football right now. This type of technology must take hold in football before it spreads to other sports. “

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