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Bears pad perception as safety-conscious

Bears watching: Riddell has its new shoulder pads  Bears are first NFL team wear them. | Special Sun-Times

Bears watching: Riddell has its new shoulder pads, and the the Bears are the first NFL team to wear them. | Special to the Sun-Times

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Riddell me this: Which NFL team is the first to offer its players Riddell’s new RipKord shoulder pad as part of standard equipment package?

Da Bears.

The shoulder pad was introduced in June at the National Athletic Trainer’s Association 62nd annual meeting. The concept behind the equipment is to provide quicker access to a player’s chest and airway if a head, spine or chest injury is suspected.

“The removal of the shoulder pads and helmet continues to be a critical aspect of treating severe head, neck and chest injuries,” Bears trainer Tim Bream said in a release issued Monday. “Riddell’s RipKord Shoulder pads will not only serve our players better, but also are a key development which will be used by youth athletes across the country giving medical personnel the ability for improved care.”

The shoulder pads can be removed by two trained professionals without having to move a player from a spinal board.

“Riddell has a history of maintaining the highest levels of protection in its football equipment,” Riddell Sports president Dan Arment said. “We were thrilled with the Bears interest in this new technology from its earliest stages through refinement and development of the product. The Bears are leading by example and our goal is that other NFL teams will follow suit.’’

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