SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Football season is just around the corner and players at both the professional and the collegiate levels are in full gear to get ready. Part of that full gear includes extra padding over helmets.
What is that padding that players are wearing over their helmets? Those are called Guardian Caps.
Created by Guardian Sports, the soft shell helmet adds an extra layer of protection that absorbs impact. The softened impacts protect players’ heads, lowering the risk of concussion.
The University of Utah Utes have been using the protective Guardian Caps since the fall of last year. Recent images and video from pre-season practices show that hasn’t changed, as players continue to wear the caps.
On the professional level, the National Football League expanded to include a mandatory Guardian Caps requirement, adding more positions that are required to wear them. The requirement applies to all pre-season and regular season practices, though the league fell short of requiring Guardian Caps during league games.
“I think the day could come. Given the fact that it’s a relatively new cap this year we want to get another set of experiences with the players, look at the data this year and kind of see where we’re at with that,” said NFL Executive Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs Jeff Miller on Good Morning Football. “But at the same time, a lot of the helmets are also making advancements too. So some of the protective benefits you get from the Guardian Cap hopefully will be seen in helmets in the next year or two and so we’ll be back to that place.”
Miller said since mandating Guardian Caps in practices, there has been a 52% reduction in concussions. With that data, the league decided to expand its use.
“More importantly to me at least is about a 20% decrease in every hit to the head that players experience when they’re wearing the cap,” Miller said on Good Morning Football. “So the concussion is a good number but it’s more about every single play.”
Miller did say some players had negative feedback with some fit for the caps. Last year, the University of Utah players expressed the same frustrations with the caps, also complaining about the added heat the helmets add as well.
While we are still awaiting feedback on the newest version of the Guardian Caps, everyone can agree player safety is important, meaning it may be worth wearing the bulky and somewhat unsightly padding.