Update (March 28, 2023):
The NFL has mandated Guardian Caps for the 2023 season with expanded use. Changes include use in all preseason, regular season and post season practices instead of just preseason. Players at position groups with most head contact will be required to wear Caps; this adds running backs and fullbacks to the previously included linemen and linebackers.
“It’s substantial. It’s really important and led to a very low number of preseason concussions compared to previous years. 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.” – Jeff Miller, NFL executive vice president of communications for public affairs
Update (February 3, 2023):
After the 2022 season, ESPN reported that the NFL brought practice concussions to an eight-year low of 25 and that it is possible that the league will expand the use and duration of Guardian Caps during training camp moving forward.
“The NFL did, however, experience success in its efforts to mitigate preseason practice concussions. After tweaking its acclimation period at the start of training camp, and requiring players at certain positions to wear Guardian Cap pads on their helmets, the NFL brought practice concussions to an eight-year low of 25.
The position groups that were required to wear Guardian Caps experienced a 52% reduction in concussions over the same time period in 2021, according to NFL executive vice president Jeff Miller. As a result, Miller said, it is possible the league will expand the use and duration of Guardian Caps during training camp moving forward.
Overall, players suffered a total of 52 concussions from the start of training camp to the beginning of the regular season. The combined total of 213 preseason and regular season concussions was 14% higher than 2021 but within range of the three-year average from 2018 to 2020 (203).” – Kevin Seifert, ESPN.com
(September 19, 2022):
After the 2022 preseason, Jeff Miller from the NFL said that the caps “Exceeded Expectations”
“The benefits of the Guardian Cap exceeded our expectations.” On the more than 50% decrease in concussions among position groups required to wear Guardian Caps during the mandated period in the 2022 preseason. – Jeff Miller, NFL Executive Vice President
(July 27, 2022):
With training camps underway, there is one visible difference that stands out: For the first time, some players from all 32 NFL teams are wearing Guardian Caps; our padded helmet cover worn on over the shell of the helmet to the impact of hits. It’s the latest example of the league’s continued work to foster innovation that leads to better, safer protective equipment for players.
In all 2022 preseason practices up until the second preseason game, all offensive linemen, defensive linemen, tight ends, and linebackers are required to wear the Guardian Cap, providing additional impact protection during the period when the league sees the greatest concentration of helmet impacts.
“Our engineers at the NFL in conjunction with engineers from the players association have tested these in the laboratory and they found that any blow that happens to the helmet with a Guardian Cap over it reduces the force about 10-15% [at NFL speeds]. So if you imagine putting it on both players, an OL and DL for example, you’ve got an additive effect of over a 20% force reduction.” – Dr. Allen Sills, NFL’s Chief Medical Officer
Follow this blog to see the latest news surrounding the use of Caps in the NFL.