FOXBORO, MASS. (WHDH) - Patriots training camp has looked slightly different this summer. Fans in attendance may have noticed some players wearing a large mushroom cap-like contraption atop their helmets.
The unique-looking caps are part of the NFL’s latest attempt to curb concussions and the risk of CTE, a degenerative brain disease.
This training camp is the first that the NFL have mandated that offensive linemen, defensive linemen, tight ends and linebackers wear the Guardian Caps from the beginning of training camp through the team’s second preseason game. The extra helmet padding, produced by Guardian Sports, will hopefully help curb the amount of concussions sustained as the intensity of training camp ratchets up.
Although the extra bulk is an attempt to help player safety, players were less than enthusiastic about the fashion statement.
“I don’t look good with the extra padding on my helmet,” said Patriots defensive lineman Davon Godchaux. “But that’s the ruling the NFL wants to do so we got to apply to it.”
Guardian Caps are worn throughout the high school and collegiate levels but required some tinkering to ensure they were suitable for heavier and faster players.
“We went back to the drawing board and added a few more ounces of material and weight and that’s what they ultimately tested and found made the statistically significant improvement,” said Guardian Caps National Sales Manager Tony Plagman.
The detractors of the Guardian Caps aren’t just focused on style. According to Chris Nowinski CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, this is a product that should not be considered an assured concussion preventative.
“I would argue this is not a slam dunk, ‘you should be wearing this product’, said Nowinski. “It works in a laboratory. But we haven’t yet tested it on the field to see what it does to players.”
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