Last year, fans saw the Arizona Cardinals wearing odd covers to their helmets in training camp. The league implemented a rule that, in an attempt to reduce injuries, offensive linemen, defensive linemen, linebackers and tight ends — the players who deal with the most play-to-play contact — must wear Guardian Caps over their helmets during offseason practices.
According to AZCardinals.com’s Darren Urban, the use of these Guardian caps has been expanded.
Their head injury rate dropped 52 percent compared to the three-year averages of those respective positions. It worked. So this season, running backs now have to wear the caps as well as the previous positions, and they will be worn not only for the duration of camp and the preseason but also any contact practices in the regular season.
While they look funky, if they truly do reduce head injuries, that is good for everyone.
That means reduced lost games by players. It potentially means improved health for players after their careers.
Teams are limited to roughly one full-contact practice per week in the regular season.
Players might not like the look when fans can watch them in training camp, but if the numbers are correct, looking funny is worth the extra protection and improved health.
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