Three years ago, Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk tried a new helmet with a different type of interior cushioning system. Since then, he said, he hasn’t had a concussion nor even the normal headaches and wooziness that Birk says are commonplace in the game.
This season, up to 150 NFL players are planning to wear Xenith brand helmets, the eight-year-old company said. That’s more than three times last year’s number and a volume that would chip away at the dominance long enjoyed by Riddell, the official NFL helmet since 1990 and which has 70 percent of NFL players in its product.
With on-field safety front and center in the NFL as it confronts a long line of former players suing the league contending that the game has permanently injured them, upstart Xenith and its shock-absorber technology could became a significant presence in the sport. Some of those lawsuits have named Riddell as a defendant.