NFL giving players option to wear Guardian caps in games this season

FILE-Kyle Pitts #8 of the Atlanta Falcons runs through a drill while wearing a Guardian protective helmet cap during a training camp practice on July 27, 2022 in Flowery Branch, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

NFL players will have the option to wear Guardian caps during the upcoming football season this fall. 

These protective soft-shell helmet caps will be worn during team practices with defensive backs and receivers joining other position groups required to use them during all contact practices. 

However, quarterbacks, kickers, and punters are the only remaining position groups not required to wear them during practice.

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nfl helmet cushion guards

FILE-A view of Cleveland Browns helmets with Guardian Caps during Cleveland Browns training camp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus on July 30, 2022 in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

Guardian caps will absorb roughly 10% of the force during a hit to the helmet and it doubles to 20% if both players involved in the hit are wearing the caps, the Associated Press reported, citing NFL data.

NFL officials told the AP that concussions reached a seven-year low during training camp last year when use of the caps was mandated for some players.

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The caps were first introduced by the NFL in 2022 as a way to reduce head injuries and bolster player safety. 

Guardian Sports manufactures the protective headgear which reduces 33% of head impact, protects the helmet from wear and tear, and keeps the player's helmet cool, the company explained on their website. 

Player safety has become a point of emphasis for the NFL over the past couple of years as the league has implemented guidelines to protect players from head injuries and concussions.

Football-related head trauma has been a growing issue for the league after former NFL players said they experienced lingering effects of brain injuries connected to their playing careers.

Lawsuits accused the NFL of hiding what it knew about the link between concussions and long-term brain injuries. 

Retired players impacted by certain neurological disorders received $1 billion in payouts from the NFL as part of a concussion settlement in 2015.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.  This story was reported from Washington, D.C.