By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor
Guardian Caps are currently utilized by over 100 colleges and 1,000 high schools to reduce impact during practice. The Cap augments any existing helmet to make it flexible and soft, able to more effectively manage energy and mitigate repetitive, cumulative blows.
The Guardian Cap is the leading soft shell helmet cover engineered for impact reduction. It brings a padded, soft-shell layer to the outside of the decades old hard-shell football helmet and reduces impact between 20 and 33 percent.
“New research shows that the small blows to the head add up,” said Guardian Caps Sales Manager Tony Plagman. “We’re looking to reduce the number of repetitive sub-concussive blows. It’s not necessarily the large collisions that cause concussion symptoms.”
The Guardian Cap has an outer “soft” material, which reduces the initial severity of the impact. The hard shell then has lower forces transmitted to it, and in turn conveys lower forces to the interior soft helmet padding and then lower forces to the head.
The model is similar to the soft wall technology that NASCAR tracks have adopted or even automobiles and the soft bumpers and airbags that are now required. The Guardian serves the same purpose for an athlete’s head—a soft shell barrier between it and impact.
“We see the biggest benefits for offensive linemen, defensive linemen, linebackers – those guys in the box with repetitive contact,” Plagman said. “There’s no real way of getting away from it. Teams still do thud drills and inside runs. Coaches say it makes a big dent in terms of injuries.”
The Guardian Cap was created in 2010 to address the clear need to advance the standard football helmet. From an engineering perspective, the Guardian Cap is effective because it allows greater energy dissipation at the point of contact with a pliable material; the cap is also attached in such a way that allows for shifting and movement independently of the helmet/head/neck unit, which redirects some of the blow upon contact. The Guardian Cap is effective because it reduces the overall buildup of small blows that occur in practice.
“The feedback has been great for the communities that have brought in the Guardian Cap,” Plagman said. “They’re seeing the benefit. We’re always working to see if something is new in the market that we can utilize. We’ve got a good product.”
Guardian Football Caps