NFL changes for safety reasons

The National Football League will allow players to use Guardian Caps helmets in regular season games beginning next season, it has been confirmed. The move is aimed at improving protection against brain injuries with padded headgear.

In recent hours, the world's premier American football league has announced regulatory changes. The measures were mentioned two weeks ago during a league webinar on safety and medical issues in the NFL, although they were only revealed in more detail this Friday.

Among the measures is the possibility of using Guardian Caps. These protectors are soft pads that attach to the outside of the helmet and are widely used in college football, where studies have shown that they can reduce impact force by 20 to 33 percent.

Guardian Caps were required for players in certain positions during the 2022 and 2023 training camps and resulted in a nearly 50% reduction in concussions for players wearing them.

"We now have two years of data showing a significant reduction in concussions among players using Guardian Caps during practice, so players will be allowed to wear the cap during games this upcoming season," NFL executive vice president of player health and safety Jeff Miller said in a statement Friday.

"In addition, this year there are new helmets that provide equal, if not greater, protection than another helmet model when paired with a Guardian cap. These advancements represent significant progress in our efforts to make the game safer for players," Miller concluded.

Dawn Aponte, NFL chief football administrative officer, said on 9 April during a webinar that helmets will be allowed in games. "There is an option for a player to wear it in a game if they want to," she said. "Some clubs have already required all of their players to wear them."

NFL Chief Medical Officer Allen Sills responded to the news by saying: "So we could actually see a Guardian cap on a player in a game this year. It's possible. A big change down the road." The league previously did not allow players to wear Guardian caps during games.

The NFL and the NFL Players Association announced earlier this month that five new helmets were approved for the 2024 season after testing to provide better protection than any other helmet, providing a record 12 helmet models for the upcoming season, including more position-specific helmets designed to mitigate impacts more likely to occur for those playing specific positions.