NFL Helmet Challenge Winners – RHEON x Xenith

The NFL announced that they will grant a proposal by Xenith & RHEON LABS for $412,000 towards their submission, Project Orbit. The RHEON NFL Helmet Challenge grant is part of a comprehensive $60-million effort – funded by the NFL – to stimulate the development of a new helmet for NFL players that outperforms all helmet models currently worn by NFL players.

Each year, experts, innovators, and helmet manufacturers from around the world compete for grant funding to support the creation of their helmet prototypes. The challenge will culminate in July 2021 with the applicants submitting helmet prototypes for testing in laboratory conditions that represent potentially concussive impacts in the NFL, with an additional award of up to $1 million.

‘This grant marks a significant next step in RHEON’s partnership with Xenith to redefine performance in American Football through energy control’ said Dr Dan Plant, Founder and CTO of RHEON LABS.

Project Orbit aims to build upon the core foundations of the Shadow XR to create something monumental in moving the game of football forward.

About the Partnership

In 2019, Xenith entered a partnership with RHEON LABS – to release the Xenith Shadow XR. Together the partnership created a unique energy control cell that cushions low-speed impacts, but intelligently strengthens for high-speed impacts. These RHEON™ cells compress to absorb linear impact and shear to optimally control rotational impact energy, reducing the resulting acceleration of the head.

“Protection in American Football has been in the spotlight for the last few years. Collaborating with Xenith’s team gave us the opportunity to bring our technology to an area that is ready for ground-breaking innovation,” said Plant. “It has been an exciting start to our partnership with Xenith, combining our technology with their expertise in performance and protective gear for the football athlete. This marks the start of our collaboration to truly transform products through energy control over the coming years.”


RHEON is an ingredient technology which can control energy of any amplitude or frequency – from small vibrations to life-threatening single impacts.

At the core of RHEON™ technology is an active polymer that intelligently strengthens in response to changes in movement.

The novel technology has the potential to make truly game changing advancements in helmet performance through energy control.

RHEON has a vision to inspire confidence and empower performance through its technology. To give athletes the confidence to push themselves further and break boundaries.

About Xenith

Xenith creates top-rated football helmets, gear, and apparel designed to elevate the athlete’s pursuit. Their athlete-first design approach is backed by rigorous science, engineering, and innovation which transcends laboratory testing to address on-field needs. Xenith outfits the athlete from head to ankle in a suite of performance products for playing, training, and living.

All Xenith helmets are Five-Star rated on the Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings System, and score in the “Top-Performing Group” of the NFL Helmet Laboratory Testing Performance Results. Xenith is committed to democratizing protection by making top-rated helmets, shoulder pads, and gear available at an equitable price point for anyone who wants to play football – from youth, to varsity, to the pros. Xenith’s training and compression apparel give athletes the extra edge they demand to take their game to the next level.

About the NFL Helmet Challenge

The NFL Helmet Challenge series is part of a comprehensive $60-million effort – funded by the NFL – to improve the understanding of the biomechanics of head injuries in professional football, protect the players and make the game safer. The fund provides helmet manufacturers, small businesses, entrepreneurs, universities and others with financial support to develop and commercialize new and improved protective equipment, including helmets.

Discover more about the NFL Helmet Challenge winners here.

Learn about the Shadow XR project here.

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