Player Health and Safety
NEW VIDEO: Head Coaches
from the Competition Committee weigh in on the importance of the Guardian Cap to
July 29, 2022 – For the first time in training camp,
some players from all 32 NFL teams are wearing a padded shell affixed to the
outside of their helmets, called a Guardian Cap. 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.
When worn, the Guardian Cap results in at least a 10%
reduction in severity of impact if one player is wearing it, and at least
a 20% reduction in impact if two players are wearing them.
In March 2022, NFL clubs voted on and passed a resolution on
this requirement. That vote followed consideration and recommendations by the
Competition Committee and the Owners' Health and Safety Advisory Committee, as
well as consultation with head coaches around the League.
The four Head Coaches on the NFL Competition Committee – Coaches
Frank Reich, Ron Rivera, Mike Tomlin and Mike Vrabel – recommended players wear
Guardian Caps this preseason. Here’s why, in their own words: WATCH
Guardian Cap is the latest example of the league's continued
work to foster innovation that leads to better, safer protective equipment for
The company that makes Guardian Cap was a recipient of the
NFL's first HeadHealthTECH innovation challenge series in 2017,
which aimed to stimulate development of better player safety equipment.
The model being worn at NFL training camps is not the same
model seen on college and high school football fields. The NFL and NFLPA,
through their biomechanical engineering experts, worked collaboratively with
the Guardian Cap manufacturer to test and evolve the design of a Cap that
specifically withstands impacts NFL players experience on the field – work made
possible because of the vast amount of data collected and analyzed from the NFL
playing field that helps the league to understand the biomechanics of head
injury and simulate that in a laboratory environment.
The league will collect and analyze data from preseason
practice to understand how Guardian Caps performed, and to improve future
health and safety efforts.
Guardian Cap represents one piece of larger efforts to reduce avoidable head
impacts and advance the health and safety of players, including stimulating
development of better-performing helmets, implementing rules changes aimed at
removing unnecessarily risky behavior, and adapting training and playing
techniques. These efforts have contributed to a sustained trend for each of the
last four seasons (2018-2021) of a 25 percent reduction in concussions
among NFL players compared to the 2015-2017 seasons.
The videos linked above are encouraged for use in your
coverage and may be used on social media, digital and broadcast platforms.
Downloadable video assets and b-roll are available upon request.