NFL to allow Guardian Caps during regular season

The NFL has adjusted its rules to allow players the option of using Guardian Caps in regular-season games to enhance their protection against head injuries, the league confirmed Friday.

The padded headgear was mandated for players at certain positions during training camp in 2022 and 2023. Speaking earlier this year, NFL executive vice president Jeff Miller said that Guardian Caps have contributed to a nearly 50% reduction in concussions for the position groups that wore them during those time periods.

In a statement provided Friday to ESPN, Miller said: “We now have two years of data showing significant concussion reductions among players who wear Guardian Caps during practice, so players will be permitted to wear the cap during games this upcoming season. Additionally, there are new helmets this year that provide as much — if not more — protection than a different helmet model paired with a Guardian Cap. These developments represent substantial progress in our efforts to make the game safer for players.”

The current plan is for the Guardian Caps to have team logos on them when worn during games.

The NFL will exempt players from having to use the Guardian Caps during the mandated portion of training camp if they wear one of six new helmet models that the league and the NFL Players Association have identified as providing equal or better protection.

Earlier this offseason, the NFL expanded the training camp mandate for wearing Guardian Caps to players at every position except quarterback and specialists. News of the NFL rule change for game days was first reported by Pro Football Talk.

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