PHILADELPHIA — Vendors pitch their wares to teams throughout spring training. But Rob Vito, the CEO of Unequal Technologies, made a memorable presentation this season.
Vito took a bat to his midsection from one of the team’s athletic trainers while wearing a chest protector manufactured by his company. It was to demonstrate a composite material containing Kevlar that Unequal developed for equipment used to protect soldiers and athletes.
When Sox backup catcher David Ross took two foul balls off his mask on May 11 and suffered a concussion, he asked the medical staff to find a way to better protect him. They called Unequal and Ross was given a skullcap made of the material that he wore under his helmet when he returned from the disabled list.
On Wednesday, Ross met with Unequal vice president of research and product development Michael Foerster at Citizens Bank Park and had an extra layer of protection added inside his helmet.
The timing was perfect with Unequal located in Kennett Square, Pa., about 45 minutes away.
“I wanted something in the front of the helmet to protect my head. I don’t want to get another [concussion], obviously,” Ross said. “The technology is pretty amazing.”
Ross will soon get a custom-made helmet with the material built in. Unequal also has worked with several other major league catchers along with NFL quarterbacks Michael Vick and Tony Romo, who needed rib protectors.
If you look at the photo of the inside of Ross' helmet, the green material is the Kevlar composite. One possible use would be to create a cap for pitchers to protect them from injuries.
"It's lightweight and it gives you that extra security," Ross said. "I think you're going to see more of this kind of thing."