Vick will be test-driving Warren Moon’s new helmet…

The day before 2012 Training Camp officially opens for the Eagles— let’s get the “new equipment” angle covered…

You may have seen NFL QB great and Hall-of-Famer Warren Moon on NFLN last night touting his anti-concussion helmet design…

The Eagles are going to give it a test run in TC and preseason exhibition games, and Michael Vick will be the primary test driver.

Warren Moon took his fair share of head shots during a great career that included the Canadian Football League as well as the NFL…

Here’s an X-Ray look at the shock absorbers in the new Xenith helmet developed by Warren Moon…

Xenith helmet on the left, classic Riddell helmet on the right…

View of Xenith prototype helmet from front… If you squint your eyes, you can almost see Bruzer9.5…

Moon is pitching a high-tech helmet that might reduce head trauma and help prevent the debilitating effects of diseases such as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, which studies seem to indicate could have linkage to repeated head blows. As the founder and president of Sports 1 Marketing in Southern California, Moon clearly will benefit from any surge in sales of the 4-year-old Xenith helmet designed by former Harvard quarterback Vin Ferrara. The headgear features 18 shock absorbers inside the protective shell.

Moon said he is motivated to better protect all football players — including Indianapolis Colts rookie Andrew Luck, who is considering the Xenith model, and our own Michael Vick, who will be trying out the Xenith gear at Lehigh and in at least one preseason game in August.

In the wake of Junior Seau‘s death from a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest May 2, Moon said he was shocked to learn that the hard-hitting linebacker never suffered a reported concussion on any injury report. “I know he took a lot of helmet shots and gave a lot of helmet shots as well,” Moon said. “So for him to never have been diagnosed with one concussion is really surprising to me.”

“I would think if they are able to look at and really study his brain, they would see that maybe there was some brain damage there that would cause him to do something like what he did. And I think every guy that’s done that, whether it was Andre Waters or Dave Duerson or some of the other guys who have committed suicide, they go and look at their brains, and they see that there’s considerable damage there. … That’s something that really concerns me.”

“And even though I was involved in the concussion and head injury project before Junior’s death, it just kind of re-emphasizes the fact that I am doing the right thing in trying to bring more awareness to this.”

Moon, 55, has suffered no short- or long-term memory effects despite enduring six career concussions during his 17-year NFL career. Moon also played six seasons in the CFL from 1978 to 1983.

“It’s something I’m just going to keep an eye on, and it’s something that concerns me because when you get to the age of 50 or so, that’s when you start to see a lot of changes that possibly happen from your days of playing football,” Moon, now a Seattle Seahawks radio analyst said.

“Right now, my thing is to make sure we can protect as many young guys as possible coming up in the game as well as the guys that are playing professional football. … And then look after these guys who are suffering and struggling from head injuries they had from playing the game.”

Xenith is projected to sell approximately 100,000 helmets in 2012, up from 12,000 in 2009. An estimated 150 NFL players, including Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice, will wear the helmet this season. The model is also worn by several major college teams including Notre Dame, Michigan, Miami (Fla.), Oregon, Florida, UCLA, Stanford.

The NFL currently has a licensing agreement with Riddell helmets that expires after this season. While players have a choice of what brand they wear, Riddell is the only brand whose equipment name can be displayed during games.

“I think the Xenith helmet is really going to revolutionize pro football and grassroots football as more people get exposed to it,” Moon said. “So far, through all the tests that have been done, it has shown it is superior to any other helmet on the market.”

Ferrara was an All-Ivy League selection for the Crimson, and his experience with head injuries prompted him to pursue his medical and MBA degrees from Columbia and to subsequently attempt to heighten awareness of head and brain injuries.

“They’re like shock absorbers work on a car, it lightens the friction of the blow,” Moon said of the cushioning system in Xenith helmets. “It really is designed to protect the major spots on your head that might have some type head collision. … It’s very innovative and one of the safest helmets because of the way it’s designed.”

“The big thing with me is just kind of getting the awareness out there, because the players should have access to whatever is on the market that is best for them to wear. … I won’t be out there going one-on-one trying to recruit guys to wear the helmet. But they’ll definitely know that I’m out there as far as the information that we’re putting out.”

It’s a test market which you hope in Mike Vick’s case never really gets put to the test. But I’m glad that at least the Eagles are looking at new technology to protect their players’ brains. It’s just another part of the learning process in preseason 2012.

We are here not just to entertain, but also to educate…

Thomas Jackson

About Thomas Jackson

Jax Sports Media has been reporting on NFL teams in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006. Thomas Jackson is its senior writer. Tom started covering the Philadelphia Eagles for the MVN Network in 2007. In 2009 he joined the Bloguin Network. He now also covers the Baltimore Ravens.