XO Armor Technologies began as a collective effort to get an Auburn University star athlete back on the field. Out of this effort grew a business that is now used by dozens of college and professional football teams.

Auburn, Alabama is a small college town. The University creates a sense of community, and the faculty communicate regularly as new problems arise and different perspectives are needed to solve them. And like in many college towns, the biggest source of this community is its football team. It is this that led Robbie Stewart, the head athletic trainer at Auburn University, to seek out engineering professor Dr. Michael Zabala when an Auburn football athlete was injured.

The problem was this: star wide receiver Anthony Schwartz had injured his hand, and his current protective guard was too big and bulky for him to catch a football. The solution would require:

  • Something lightweight
  • Small enough to not hinder his catching
  • Protective of his injury

The Challenge Was Set

Dr. Zabala and his lab, the Auburn University Biomechanical Engineering Lab, were set to find a solution. With trial and error, the team used a scan of the athlete’s injured body part to make a model of a custom-fit guard able to be 3D printed. In a matter of hours, a thin, protective guard would be ready for use.

With the technology in place, Auburn Athletics tested it on Anthony Schwartz. And it worked! Schwartz used the printed guard under his glove during the next game at College Station against Texas A&M, and with it, he ran a reverse for a 57-yard touchdown. Seeing the success of this product on the field, Dr. Zabala saw the potential in the technology.

XO Armor Technologies was born.

The LLC was officially created in 2019 and the company quickly moved into Auburn University’s New Venture Accelerator. This is a location where several startup companies can set up their headquarters and grow with the support and resources of the University. Think of it as a college dorm for businesses. And this is where XO Armor currently resides as the business grows and continues to expand into the athletics market.