After suffering his second concussion this year in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Week 14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Kenny Pickett changed his helmet on doctors’ advice. Pickett now wears the Riddell Axiom, a slightly larger helmet meant to improve player safety. Steelers tight end Pat Freymuth has also switched to a bigger helmet after dealing with two concussions in his rookie season, and now Pickett is doing the same. The quarterback talked about taking doctors’ advice at his press conference today.
“They suggested it, the doctors did. They said they did really well. So, I trust what they say a hundred percent, so I definitely want to be safe,” Beckett said via a video posted to Steelers.com.
Also talk about getting used to it and making sure the face mask doesn’t affect his vision.
“I felt the same. Obviously getting the face mask right was a huge concern for me. Just, you know, being able to see clearly, not having the crossbar, the line bar, I wasn’t that impressed. You know, I had Mask when I was younger, so I’m going back to the old Pop Warner days.”
The Axiom was announced last January and released in the fall of 2022. Riddell says the helmet is “designed to improve response to impacts and reduce exposure to head impact.” It’s also the only football helmet equipped with Riddell’s InSite Impact Response System, which measures the head impact each wearer deals with while the helmet is on. Pickett said the helmet has Speed Flex, a design by Riddell to disperse energy and reduce shock, on the back of the helmet to protect the back of Pickett’s head, which is where he hit after hitting the ground on both. His concussion.
“I don’t really get hit in the front, but hitting my head off the ground is the problem. So it has Speed Flex in the back, which I think will help me,” Beckett said.
Any change that Piquet and the team doctors feel can keep him healthy is clearly a positive change. Concussions are scary, and two in one season is no joke. The Steelers were at the forefront of head injury protection when the entire team wore their guardian hats during Minicamp, despite only being league-mandated during training camp. With Pickett having suffered multiple concussions this year, it’s time to make a change to a safer helmet that can help prevent another concussion in the future.
As much as you get used to the new equipment, it can be a modification, especially the helmet. Still, Beckett seems confident the helmet won’t have a major change, though the added visor would be noticeable. Pickett said the mask is just to make sure he doesn’t get punched in the face because the new helmet has a wide gap in the face.
“Like, I don’t know like who designed this, but it’s a little wide where a fist can literally go through it. So, I don’t want to get punched in the face on Saturday, so I was like, you know, maybe I’ll put a mask on and we’ll be fine.”
It most likely won’t have any effect on his playing, will keep him safer and healthier, and hopefully Pickett won’t suffer any more concussions no matter what helmet he’s wearing.
Pickett’s new helmet and mask will make their debut Saturday night when the Steelers host the Las Vegas Raiders at 8:30 p.m. at Acrisure Stadium.
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