When the Dallas Cowboys take the field this season, running back Ezekiel Elliott may be wearing a new helmet that has been custom-fit for his head.
During the Cowboys’ organized team activity (OTA) workouts last week, the 26-year-old Elliott was seen wearing something new from helmet-maker Riddell. Instead of the Speedflex model that Elliott has worn since his days at Ohio State University, he wore the new Axiom.
One of the critical differences in the Axiom helmet is the use of Riddell’s Tru-Fit system to adapt the helmet to a specific player. The helmet is customized through the company’s scanning app, Verifyt, which helps create a 3D image of a player’s head.
From there, Riddell uses its database of head shapes to obtain a detailed comparison that allows the company to customize the helmet. Previously, adapting a helmet to a player required air adjustment or fitting foams that allowed for a tighter fit.
Over more than a century, football helmets have undergone an evolution. Most of that time, helmets offered only modest protection, which led to long-term consequences for many players.
One of the most noticeable aspects of the Axiom helmet is that the top bar in the standard face mask has been removed, allowing a player to have better field vision during a game.
In addition, a detachable visor has been installed to help with eye protection. Another technological aspect of the new helmet is that impact sensors allow data collection to more quickly assess a player’s health during games or practices.
Elliott is not the only member of the Cowboys to wear an Axiom helmet. Tony Pollard, a Cowboys reserve, has also been seen in one, though Elliott’s importance in the lineup has drawn more attention.
The Axiom helmet has also been seen on two members of the Arizona Cardinals: safety Budda Baker and defensive lineman J.J. Watt.
Other NFL players will also likely wear the Axiom helmet during the 2022 season.
However, the helmet is expected to be used much more prominently by several major college football programs. Among the schools testing out the Axiom over the past three seasons is Elliott’s alma mater, Ohio State, along with Penn State, Stanford, and Florida State.
If Elliott uses the new helmet this season, it may offer him better protection against head injuries, though he is coming off a season in which a knee injury affected him for much of the 2021 season.
Elliott appears to have lingering issues with his knee and is hoping to return to his earlier performance level. The running back led the NFL in rushing for two of his first three seasons in the league and in yards-per-game for all three.