Russell Athletic recently released its new CarbonTek shoulder pad system, which pretty much puts your current pads to shame.
The outer shell is constructed with aerospace-grade carbon fiber, which is stronger than competing products while weighing approximately 10% less. The pads also feature a military-grade buckle designed to reduce bulk and absorb the most aggressive hits. A unique arch design gives players more mobility in their shoulders to help them better wrap up and tackle opponents. Russell offers three designs based on the player's position: skill, lineman or multipurpose.
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Underneath the space-age shell is a breathable vest packed with a network of small rubbery balls that disperse impact across a broad area. They're made of automotive grade foam, not the standard EVA stuff. You can also use the vest as a base layer when playing in low-contact conditions, and it's machine washable.
Russell Athletic's CarbonTek shoulder pads should keep you safer, but that protection comes with a hefty price tag: the system sells for $500. If you (or your school) can handle the financial impact, you can find the gear here.
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