NFL to give players option to wear Guardian Caps during regular-season games

April 26, 2024

The NFL announced on Friday that players will be permitted to wear Guardian Caps during regular-season games in an effort to increase player health and safety and prevent head injuries.

“We now have two years of data showing significant concussion reductions among players who wear Guardian Caps during practice so players will be permitted to wear the cap during games this upcoming season,” Jeff Miller, NFL EVP overseeing player health and safety, said in a statement on Friday. “Additionally, there are new helmets this year that provide as much – if not more – protection than a different helmet model paired with a Guardian Cap. These developments represent substantial progress in our efforts to make the game safer for players.”

The NFL instituted Guardian Caps during training camps ahead of the 2022 season, and then they were mandated during the 2023 season at every preseason practice, as well as every regular-season and postseason practice with contact. Players at position groups where head contact is seen most are required to wear the Guardian Cap, with running backs and fullbacks joining the previously included linemen and linebackers. The only positions not required to wear the caps are kickers, punters, quarterbacks, wide receivers and defensive backs.

The league said when the Guardian Caps debuted in 2022 that they can reduce the force from head contact by 10% if one player is wearing it, and 20% if all players involved are wearing them.

Earlier this month, it was announced that NFL players will have 12 new helmets — including eight that are made specifically for linemen and quarterbacks — to choose from next season.

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