They debuted in recent years as curiosities of the offseason program. Now, the Guardian Caps worn over helmets will be seen during practices throughout the first month of training camp and the preseason.
According to the NFL, the teams passed a resolution in March requiring the use of Guardian Caps through the second preseason game. The oversized outer layer of padding must be worn by all offensive linemen, defensive linemen, linebackers, and tight ends.
“Preseason is the part of the season with the greatest concentration of helmet impacts,” the league explained in a statement to PFT. “Wearing Guardian Cap results in at least a 10 percent reduction in severity of impact if one player is wearing it, and at least a 20 percent reduction in impact if two players in a collision are wearing it. This is, of course, just one piece of our larger efforts to reduce avoidable head impacts through better helmets, improved techniques and training regimens.”
The company that manufactures the Guardian Cap was one of the winners of the NFL’s first HeadHealthTECH innovation challenge series, in 2017. The league designed the competition to stimulate development of better player safety equipment.
Certain types of contact are inherent to the game of football. Other types can be avoided. The Guardian Cap helps the impact of the contact to become minimized.