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NFL to expand use of Guardian Caps in preseason, regular season practices

From Brian Daboll looking like bouncer at Irish or English pub to Kyle Shanahan appearing confused, Mike Florio and Chris Simms reveal their favorite takeaways from the annual NFL coaches photo.

Get ready to see more Guardian Caps.

After their use was successful last year, the NFL is mandating that teams use the Guardian Caps for all preseason practices when wearing helmets and in the regular season for contact practices.

Running backs and fullbacks will also now wear the Guardian Caps.

“As many of you know, we issued the Guardian Cap because we saw there could be a force reduction if one player wore the cap — this is in the preseason last year — if one player wore the cap, we saw about a 10 percent reduction in the forces transmitted to the player. If both players involved in a helmet-to-helmet collision wore it, you’re talking about 20 percent,” NFL executive vice president of communications for public affairs Jeff Miller said in a Tuesday press conference at the annual league meeting.

According to Miller, the NFL’s data revealed a 52-percent reduction in concussions during the first few weeks of the 2022 preseason when players were wearing the Guardian Caps. That’s in comparison to a three-year average of the same position groups.

“It’s substantial,” Miller said. “It’s really important and led to a very low number of preseason concussions compared to previous years. The committee took this very seriously, listened to player feedback. Took a look at the shape and form of the cap, working with the company to make an even better one. Took a look at heat, made sure there weren’t implications there. Took a look at neck injuries, stingers, didn’t see any problems there. so, we’ll expand it to include running backs this year. We’ll expand it throughout the course of the preseason for all helmeted practices and into the regular season for all contact practices.

“So, you’ll be seeing a lot of the Guardian Cap this coming year. And we think that’s going to advance player safety substantially — not just against concussions, because we know that’s one metric. but against the repetitive head impacts that players take. Each one, in this case, with the Guardian Cap worn, is going to decrease the risk. That’s really important for the long-term benefit of the player and something the committee took very seriously.”

Offensive linemen, defensive linemen, linebackers, and tight ends wore the Guardian Caps last year.