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What are Guardian Caps? NFL players sport specialty helmets for 2022 minicamp

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Concussions are and can remain a significant talking point within the NFL. The league has implemented a latest initiative to curb them every yr, it feels, and 2022 isn’t any exception. In 2022, the NFL will debut the “Guardian Cap,” a softshell helmet covering designed to curb concussions in training camp.

As more minicamps open up Tuesday, players will once more be seen donning the cushioned helmets. Manufactured in 2010, that is the primary yr the caps will probably be mandatory, they usually will probably be seen all the best way up until the second preseason game of the season.

Here’s what to know concerning the Guardian Cap as 2022 camps proceed, and a few information concerning the cap and its purpose.

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What’s the Guardian Cap?

The Guardian Cap was developed in 2010 by Guardian Sports. It’s meant to evolve the trendy football helmet, which has notoriously been weaponized by some players (perhaps most infamously former Washington safety Brandon Merriweather).

The cap goes over the standard football helmet, and has a waffle design that is supposed to soak up impact.

Based on Guardian’s website, it essentially works by cushioning the blow of helmets hitting moving objects. “An outer ‘soft’ material of the correct density, stiffness and energy absorbing properties reduces the initial severity of the impact.”

Which players must wear the Guardian Cap?

Linemen, tight ends, and linebackers are the positions mandated to wear the cap, though some teams — just like the Pittsburgh Steelers — have adopted it team-wide. In essence, the NFL is trying to cut back head injuries from constant head trauma within the trenches.

How effective is the Guardian Cap?

Guardian Sports claims it reduces impact by as much as 33 percent, while also reducing static heat 15 to twenty degrees.

The Guardian Caps are also flexible enough to suit over various helmet sizes.

Per ESPN, the common reduction was closer to 10 percent in comparison with a standard helmet, with that 33 percent number coming from high schoolers, who naturally exert significantly less force.

What does the Guardian Cap appear like?

The Guardian Cap looks such as you’d expect a big helmet covering to look.

Guardian Cap debuts during minicamps in effort to cut back avoidable head contacthttps://t.co/qGH9JhCa90 pic.twitter.com/AA1O3zXuG9

— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) June 8, 2022

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was kind enough to model it and not using a helmet.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin joins in together with his team to wear a Guardian Cap throughout the first day of minicamp Tuesday at UPMC Sports Complex. pic.twitter.com/CJIeXhX9i0

— Matt Freed (@mattfreedpghpg) June 7, 2022

One of the best 📸 from minicamp in monochrome ⬇️

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) June 12, 2022

😤😤😤@highsmith34 pic.twitter.com/IyHgcy39oo

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) June 9, 2022

It’s undoubtedly bulky, but that is type of the purpose. It is not a fashion statement, it’s meant to guard players from head trauma.

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What number of concussions did NFL players have in 2021?

Concussions are rarely talked about on NFL broadcasts — until they’re. Any time a player is ushered off the sector after an enormous hit to the medical tent, you may hear broadcasters discuss the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Concussions within the NFL have dropped sharply since 2017, but they continue to be a significant issue. The league saw 275 concussions in 2015, 243 in 2016, and 281 in 2017. From there, there have been 214 in 2018, 224 in 2019, 172 in 2020 (no preseason), and 187 in 2022. That is to say, the NFL’s steps have undoubtedly helped, however the Guardian Caps are being implemented to even further curb head trauma within the NFL.

What are the players saying?

NFL players appear to largely be on board with the brand new caps, and those who aren’t aren’t speaking up (not abnormal within the league).

Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth gave perhaps essentially the most honest perspective.

“We glance dumb,” he said after the Steelers debuted the caps last week. “We definitely look dumb but it surely’s good protection.”

“It’s a latest rule, it’s for his or her safety,” Tomlin added. “We’re going to make it a non-issue for us and deal with our work.”

Back in May, the Rams’ David Edwards had a more specific take.

David Edwards on the importance of Guardian Caps for him and his @RamsNFL teammates. pic.twitter.com/l5rXhxF5E1

— NFL (@NFL) May 3, 2022

“The Guardian Cap provided that extra layer of protection you needed during practice,” he said. “The last item you would like is to lose players on the offensive and defensive lines to go injuries during practice or training camp. The cap helped reduce a few of those injuries and was useful to our team last season.”

The NFL will, in fact, be tracking how successful the brand new helmets are. If that 10 percent collision reduction makes an impact, it should translate to fewer concussions during OTAs. Within the meantime, the league will undoubtedly be ways to cut back game speed concussions, as that is where the overwhelming majority of NFL head injuries still lie.

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