The biggest training camp storylines for any team usually center around a position battle, a player's return from injury, or a coaching staff on the hot seat. Sometimes, however, it's the smaller stories that prove the most important.
After missing time in 2013 due to a concussion, it appears that Packers running back Eddie Lacy has switched helmets. This is a fairly common occurrence in today's NFL, with Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Jermichael Finley, and others making similar changes in recent years.
In this case, Lacy will wear the new Riddell SpeedFlex helmet.
The SpeedFlex includes two built-in features designed to make it safer than previous models. The first and most noticeable is the flap located on the crown of the helmet. This piece is designed to absorb more of the energy from high-impact hits to the top of the head. The second, non-visual feature to the SpeedFlex is the head-impact monitoring system that allows trainers to measure an impact in real time.
As with any helmet, it doesn't completely eliminate the risk for head trauma. However, it's another step in the right direction, and Eddie Lacy deserves kudos for taking a proactive approach to his health.
Update: A representative from Riddell contacted Acme Packing Company to clarify that while the SpeedFlex helmet is compatible with the head-impact monitoring system, the NFL isn't utilizing the technology at this time.
UPDATE 9/5: Unfortunately, the early returns on Lacy's new helmet aren't so good. The Packers confirmed that Lacy suffered a concussion in the 2014 season opener against the Seahawks, likely during a collision with safety Kam Chancellor. Obviously, we are not assuming or assigning any blame for this on the part of Riddell, since any hit to the head has the potential to cause an injury. We're hoping for a quick recovery for Lacy.
UPDATE 9/11: According to Bill Huber of Packer Report, Lacy has decided to switch back to the helmet he wore during his rookie season.