September 14, 2023
By now we’ve all seen those padded Guardian Caps, which football teams at all levels use for practices and workouts. The NFL, which previously mandated them for preseason workouts, now requires their use for practices throughout the season.
But there’s at least one high school in Minnesota that’s taking Guardian Caps to the next level. That would be Park High in Cottage Grove, about 10 miles south of St. Paul. The photo at the top of this page is from their season opener against East Ridge High on Aug. 31. Here’s another photo, followed by a local TV news report on the phenomenon:
Park lost that game. But they won their next game, on Sept. 8 against Burnsville High. It was their home opener, and here’s a shot of them coming onto the field in their Guardian Caps:
You can see video highlights from that game here. (Sorry, I couldn’t figure out how to embed that video on this page.)
Park High’s next game is tomorrow, at home against Buffalo High School.
Obviously, Guardian Caps aren’t ideal from an aesthetic standpoint. But my feeling has always been that safety outweighs aesthetics, and that goes double when we’re talking about kids’ sports.
But game use of Guardian Caps may not be limited to kids. An league exec recently suggested that they could be used in NFL games at some point down the road.
As the use of Guardian caps expands from practices to games, it’ll be interesting to see if the padded accessories start getting adorned with team logos, stripes, and so on.
Meanwhile: Does anyone know of other high schools that are using Guardian Caps in games, as opposed to just in practices?
(My thanks to Charles Kloos for letting me know about this one.)