August 19, 2023
If you’ve watched a football team practice in the last few years, you might have seen players wearing a padded cover on their heads.
Those covers are helmet caps, from a company called Guardian, and they are being used to soften hits to the head for football players from high school, all the way up to the NFL.
This year, the College of Idaho football team has adopted them for use with their offensive and defensive linemen, running backs, linebackers, and players returning from concussions.
The helmet covers attach to any helmet using Velcro and snaps. They aren’t tight and move around slightly, which helps them deflect impact from the hits, according to the head equipment manager at the College of Idaho, Easton Berrett.
And what do the players feel when wearing them?
“Really, they don’t feel it as it happens,” Berrett said. “But what they’re feeling are less and less concussion symptoms and less and less headaches throughout the season.”
Berrett says college football players can experience thousands of hits during the course of a football season. While no equipment makes football concussion-proof, Barrett says the caps help out.
He says when one player is wearing the cap, it can reduce impact force by up to 10%, and when both players involved in a hit wear them, that percentage increases up to 33%.
That lines up with some research from Stanford Medicine which says “On average, the caps provided 15% to 20% more protection than blows to the head with only a helmet.”
Head Coach, Mike Moroski, says safety is important in his program, and the helmets are just one mitigation tactic they use.
“And it just makes sense, too much sense,” Moroski said about using the Guardian caps. “If we can avoid a few hits to the head, I think that’s good. But everything we do is geared towards Rugby tackling, not lowering your head, keeping each other up as we practice hard.”