Carolina Panther Thomas Davis to make history with 3D printed brace for Super Bowl 50

When Carolina Panthers’ all-pro linebacker Thomas Davis takes the field this Sunday, he will be the first NFL player to wear a piece of 3D printed equipment on the field. And he picked the sports biggest stage to do it, the Super Bowl.

During the first half of the Panthers NFC Championship win nearly two weeks ago, Davis broke his forearm making a tackle. He underwent surgery the next day to have a metal plate with 12 screws put in his injured arm.

Normally, an injury like that would keep a player on the bench, but Davis is a seasoned veteran determined to play for his team in the Super Bowl, no matter what it takes.

Luckily Whiteclouds, a 3D printing company, engineered the brace in about 8 hours last week, after receiving a 3D scan of Davis’ forearm. 30 hours later, the brace was printed and ready to go.

Davis tried four different braces, but the 3D solution ended up being the best option.


The brace is printed out of a composite blend of plastic and rubber materials. This makes it rigid to stabilize the arm, but flexible enough to absorb any impact. It also has holes to make it breathable and to cut down on any extra weight. The inside is printed with a spongy material that not only increases comfort, but also improves the ability to withstand a collision.

For the big game, Davis will wear the brace under a layer of protective foam that will be taped to match his Panther uniform.

Go figure that the game featuring Superman versus The Sheriff would make Super Bowl history for 3D printing innovation.