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What are Guardian Caps, and why are certain NFL players wearing them during training camps?

The protective headgear was mandated by the NFL during the 2022 offseason for certain positions during preseason practices.
Credit: WFAA
Dallas Cowboys players wearing Guardian Caps during the start of training camp on July 27, 2022.

OXNARD, Calif. — If you've been paying close attention to the start of training camps, you may have noticed a unique piece of headgear that certain NFL players have been wearing this year.

They're called Guardian Caps, and some positions are actually required to wear them during preseason practices.

During this past offseason, the NFL approved a mandate for linebackers, offensive and defensive linemen and tight ends to wear the protective headgear during training camp. Those positions have to use the caps at practices until the second preseason game.

The mandate is seen as a way for the league to reduce concussions and head injuries during practices.

The cap is a padded, soft-shell layer that attaches to the outside of the hard-shell football helmets and is said to reduce impact by up to 33%, according to Guardian Sports, which designed the cap.

The company's website stated the cap fits all sizes of football helmets and also dampens sounds and vibrations during contact.

According to a report by ESPN, the NFL's executive vice president of health and safety, Jeff Miller, said that the league typically sees a high rate of concussions during the first two weeks of training camp. Miller said this is most likely due to the higher number of players at the start of training camp and them getting used to wearing full pads and making contact during practice.

The Guardian Caps made their debut for some teams at OTAs and minicamps even though they weren't required. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported the Pittsburgh Steelers had all their players wearing the caps during a minicamp in June.

The NFL tweeted about the caps on Wednesday, as now all 32 teams have started training camps.

"Players league-wide are wearing Guardian Caps during 2022 preseason practices – the latest example of the NFL’s continued work to foster innovation that leads to better protective equipment and makes the game safer for players," the league said.

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