UW players wearing ‘Guardian Caps’ on their helmets in practice this year. The shells are designed to reduce the force of blows to the head

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

MADISON – The risk for athletes who suffer one or more concussions has become a topic of significant study and discussion in recent years.

Wisconsin wide receivers Danny Davis and Kendric Pryor were limited to a combined five games last season because of concussions.

So it was noteworthy to see UW players wearing Guardian Caps over their helmets on Friday morning, the first day of preseason camp.

The Guardian Caps, created in 2010, fit over the top of hard-shell helmets. According to the manufacturer, they reduce by one-third the force of blows to the head.

According to a UW official, the Badgers’ medical staff suggested using Guardian Caps and the coaching staff agreed.

Coincidentally, UW and The Medical College of Wisconsin are part of a comprehensive study to address the issues of accurately diagnosing concussions and providing athletes with the best medical care.

That study, a collaboration between the NCAA and the U.S. Department of Defense, began in 2014.

Both Pryor and Davis said before the opening of camp they had no concerns about returning to action after suffering concussions in 2020.

Davis hopes to contribute on punt returns as well as at receiver.

“I’m a football player,” he said Thursday during the team’s annual media day. “I’m always down to getting the ball in my hands as much as possible. Making a play for my team is something I value doing, something I love to do.

“I don’t try to think about (injuries) when I’m out there playing football. I just try to go out there with a clear mind and just have fun.”

From the infirmary

Tight end Cole Dakovich (left leg/knee) and long-snapper Duncan McKinley (left knee) are out for the season, according to UW officials.

Both players were injured in the spring.

Players listed out for Friday were: left tackle Tyler Beach (left leg), safety Travian Blaylock (left leg), outside linebacker C.J. Goetz (right leg), outside linebacker Aaron Witt (right leg), wide receiver Stephan Bracey (right leg), outside linebacker Ayo Adebogun (right leg) and inside linebacker Jake Chaney (right arm).

Blaylock, Witt and Bracey all missed time in the spring because of their injuries.

Kicking battle commences

Jack Van Dyke kicked with the No. 1 unit Friday, with Collin Larsh on the No. 2 unit. Special teams coach Chris Hearing flip-flopped the kickers during the spring and likely will do the same again in camp until a clear starter emerges.

Van Dyke hit kicks from 21, 30 and 45 yards. He missed left from 40 yards. Larsh hit both his kicks, from 21 and 30 yards.

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