NFL launches Guardian cap during minicamps, soft-shell helmets aimed at reducing head impact
With the rise of NFL minicamps on Tuesday, a league executive order on brain injuries officially went into effect.
All linebackers, tight ends and linemen from now until Game 2 of the preseason are required to wear the “Guardian Cap,” a soft-shell helmet that allegedly reduces head impact up to 20% if colliding players wear them.
While the Guardian cap was worn voluntarily since 2020 by an offensive and defensive lineman to help limit concussions, the unilateral decision to make it mandatory outside the trenches drew praise from teams such as the Steelers. Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin, for example, demands that everything of its position players wear the waffle-style covering on their regular helmets.
Said tight end Pat Freiermuth“We look like idiots. We really look con but it’s good protection.”
Developed in 2010 by Guardian Sports, the Guardian cap was victorious in the NFL-sponsored competition in 2017 HeadHealth TECHNICAL Challenge at a time when the company’s website claimed that the quilted liner could reduce g-force impact by 33%. More than 200 NCAA college football programs began rolling out coverage around this time, including Clemson and Oklahoma.
The NFL edict comes at a time when the number of concussions league-wide has risen from 224 in 2019 to 187 in 2021. The Guardian Cap is also said to have reduced static head heat from 15 to 20 degrees and is flexible enough to fit all helmets.