Black Guardian Cap


Leading, impact reducing soft-shell helmet cover





The Guardian Cap is the leading soft shell helmet cover engineered for impact reduction. It brings a padded, soft-shell layer to the outside of the decades old hard-shell football helmet and reduces impact up to 33%.

Guardian Caps Background

The Guardian Cap was created in 2010 to address the clear need to advance the standard football helmet, which has changed little since the 1960’s.  Erin and Lee Hanson, owners of The Hanson Group LLC, utilized their 20+ years in the material science business to engineer, patent, and manufacture the Guardian Cap.

They began the process consulting with another company on a fully encompassed soft-shelled helmet.  They presented the helmet to football executives but did not get the buy in.  Erin and Lee realized that changing the look and sound of the game was a big “no” for a lot of football players, fans, and coaches.  They decided to take to market the affordable Guardian Cap that could be easily attached to the helmet during practices and taken off during games.  Reducing impact in practice was more than nothing.

The Guardian team’s focus began with the youth.  When Clemson and other power teams started wearing Guardian Caps in practices, more high school teams and youth leagues started inquiring.  In 2017, Guardian won the NFL HeadHealthTECH Challenge.  In 2020, the Guardian Cap was seen on multiple NFL teams for practices and after a year of data collection and lab testing that showed a “statistically significant” improvement over bare helmets alone, the NFL permitted Guardian Caps in the 2021 season.  In early 2022, the NFL owners announced that the League would be mandating the use of Guardian Caps during the early part of 2022 training camp for all OL, DL, TEs, and LBs.  Also, in 2022 the American Youth Football League (AYF) partnered with Guardian Caps to offer special pricing to their members.  The NFL has mandated Guardian Caps for the 2023 season with expanded use that includes all practices preseason, regular season, and post season that include contact.  They have also added Running Backs and Fullbacks to the list of positions mandated to wear Caps which now include: OL, DL, LB, TE, RB, FB.

Guardian continues to push the importance reducing impacts in youth – pro practices.

Physics say that an outer “soft” material of the proper density, stiffness and energy absorbing properties reduces the initial severity of the impact. The hard shell then has lower forces transmitted to it, and in turn conveys lower forces to the interior soft helmet padding and then lower forces to the head. Very similar to a NASCAR driver and the soft wall technology that tracks have adopted or even automobiles and the soft bumpers and airbags that are now required. The Guardian serves the same purpose for an athlete’s head—a soft shell barrier between it and impact.

Guardian Caps testing

Interested in seeing some of our test data?

You can email us for all of our testing data, we’re happy to share. The Guardian team is always open to more research on the Guardian Cap to further build on the current base of research and continue to bridge the gap that exists between biomechanical testing to the end injuries. Until the gap is bridged, claims will be held only to what has been empirically proven.

Guardian Caps Uses

The Guardian Cap brings a padded, soft-shell layer worn on the outside of the decades old hard-shell football helmet and:

  • Guardian XT reduces impact up to 33%
  • Guardian NXT (NFL version) reduces impact an average of 10%
  • Addresses the impact severity of blows for OL, DL, LB, TE
  • Pads blows to knees, hands, abdomen, etc. during Inside Run and position drills
  • Protects helmet/decal wear and tear
  • Reduces radiant heat up to 20°



Guardian Caps are worn by 100,000+ athletes nationwide to reduce impact during practice.


Stay up to date with the latest announcements & teams using Caps.

Worn by 200+ colleges, 2000+ high schools, 500+ youth programs, 32 NFL Teams. 

Mandated by the NFL for the 2023 season with expanded use. 

Watch Video

“We actually started using the Guardian Caps several years ago on a couple of specific position groups on a trial basis.  While we realize there is no piece of equipment that will prevent all concussions we pride ourselves on injury prevention and anything that may help us keep our student-athletes a little safer on the field is welcome.  It was an adjustment for some of the players initially, but eventually the caps just became part of their daily equipment.  We have expanded their use to multiple position groups now and of course to anyone who specifically requests a cap.  Common sense that adding this extra, non-invasive layer to the helmet lessens the amount of force generated during head-to-head or head-to-ground contact.  While there is no way to know how many concussions we have prevented, we definitely believe in the product and will continue to use it on our players.”

David Gable, MS, ATC, LAT, Associate Athletics Director Sports Medicine at TCU

“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 Health and Safety Initiatives

“Exceeded our expectations.” (When commenting on Guardian Caps and how the NFL preseason saw a more than 50% reduction in concussions versus the previous three-year average)

Jeff Miller, NFL Executive Vice President of Health and Safety Initiatives

“The Guardian Cap provided that extra layer of protection you needed during practice. The last thing you want is to lose players on the offensive and defensive lines to head injuries during practice or training camp. The Cap helped reduce some of those injuries and was useful to our team last season.”

David Edwards, NFL Los Angeles Rams OL

“We currently have some clubs using them,” “(Through testing) we’ve found some beneficial aspects with some of the hits, a reduction in force. At the high school level, it can be an important component, but it’s got to be one component of the overall strategy of reducing contact. You want to think about how you practice, how contact is modified, technique. You have to make sure (the thought is not) ‘I’ve got this thing protecting my head, I can go use it as a battering ram’. You have to talk about how to not use the head. It’s a chain with many links.”

Dr. Allen Sills, NFL Chief Medical Officer
“We train to reduce injuries, we practice smarter to reduce injuries, and we use the best technology available to us to reduce injuries. At Bergen Catholic we want to put our players in the best uniforms, the best equipment, and take every measure to limit the risks of the game. We definitely believe the Guardian Cap is one of these technological improvements.”
Nunzio Campanile, Head Football Coach, Bergen Catholic High School, New Jersey
“We believe in wearing Guardian Caps to further protect our players. We treat the caps like it’s part of their everyday equipment and it’s mandatory to wear.”
Coach Matt Logan, Centennial High School, California
“People don’t really appreciate what an O-lineman and a D-lineman goes through. They’re facing impact – not only in a game, and they’re getting 80 plays in a game – but then you see how they practice. The impact on those kids…there’s impact on every snap of every play.”
Matt Campbell, Head Football Coach, Iowa State University, Iowa
“If we’re talking about putting more padding around a kid’s head on a football field, I’m all for that. I mean, it makes sense right? I have my own son in one.”
Andy Lowry, Head Football Coach, Columbine High School, Colorado 2012 AFCA Power of Influence Award Recipient
“I wanted to let you know that we had 0 concussions after our 1st order of 20. We placed 8 on the kids that had previously received a concussion and put the remaining 12 on our hardest hitters (to protect others). We will all be wearing them from now on!”
Matt Putnam, Head Football Coach, Hazel Green High School, Alabama