"I guarantee he will not get hurt,"
Those are the exact words said to ESPN by Rob Vito, CEO of Unequal Technologies, when asked about how well their protective gear will help protect the tender midsection of Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick.
Vick, who sustained an injury to his rib cage during the Eagles second preseason game, was custom fitted by the company on Friday with its “EXO Skeleton” compression shirt that features two rib protectors on either side. The vest uses what Vito says is a military-grade, battle-tested composite material that has DuPont Kevlar to protect athletes from on-field injuries.
"What Michael is wearing was born on the battlefield and forged on the gridiron," Vito said.
Unequal Technologies, a 3-year old Pennsylvania-based company, was the first to sign Vick to an endorsement deal after Vick returned to the league following his prison sentence. The company says that it currently has 67 worldwide patents pending on its tech and their products are used by 24 of the 32 NFL teams as well as 6 NHL teams.
They have also designed body armor for Major League Baseball Umpires. It's the body armor part that has Vick excited about the upcoming season, despite only playing in 12 snaps this preseason.
"I'm looking forward to it … to give me more protection and just to see what comes out of it," Vick told the Philadelphia Daily News after Tuesday's practice. "It's going to be custom-fitted and fitted to protect all across my sternum, across my ribs. I think it'll be a better fit."
The biggest draw of the protective gear to a mobile QB like Vick is that the vest allows for heavy protection without being heavy in itself. Each rib protector weighs approximately three ounces, according to Vito.
Vick was not wearing the companies protective gear when he bruised his ribs last week. He will be come week 1.
James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports and you can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Getty Images Sport