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Carolina Panthers player could be first to wear 3D-printed brace in NFL game

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An injured Thomas Davis #58 of the Carolina Panthers celebrates in the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals during the NFC Championship Game at Bank of America Stadium on January 24, 2016 in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis could be the first player to wear a 3D-printed brace in an NFL game, according to CNET.

Davis broke his right forearm in the NFC championship game against the Arizona Cardinals on Jan. 24.

One surgery, a metal plate and 12 screws later he’s ready to get back on the field with a 3D-printed brace developed by the company Whiteclouds.

The 3D arm brace is meant to prevent any further injury if Davis is cleared to play.

According to CNET, Whiteclouds designed the brace using a 3D scan of Davis’ arm. The brace, which is made of a blend of plastic and rubber-like materials, has holes to make it light and breathable.

The brace was designed in just 8 hours and then shipped to Davis just in time to test it during practices before the big game.

The Charlotte Observer reported that Davis was putting the new brace to the test during Monday’s practice.

“All in all, it was pretty good,” Davis told the Charlotte Observer, referring to the practice. “I know it’s going to be different when you’re actually out there and things are live when we’re playing the game on Sunday, but at the same time for it to be my first opportunity to get back out there I really felt good.”

If coach Ron Rivera clears Davis to play while the fracture is still healing, products like this one could be used more widely to help athletes get back into the game more quickly.