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