Every football player shares the same dark fear: a catastrophic injury on the field. But this year the Bears will have a bit more protection and a bit more peace of mind.

The Bears are set to become the first NFL franchise to offer its players the new RipKord shoulder pads as part of its standard equipment package this season.

Riddell introduced the revolutionary pads in June. The new shoulder pad removal system is said to provide quicker, more immediate access to an athlete's chest and airway in the event of a head, spine or chest injury.

"The removal of the shoulder pads and helmet continues to be a critical aspect of treating severe head, neck and chest injuries," said Tim Bream, head trainer for the Chicago Bears in a press release. "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 technology is simple: A cord is placed into the shoulder pad design that, in an emergency, can easily be pulled out to separate the components for quick access to the injured player.

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