NFL Guardian Caps are ‘STUPID,’ slams Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Shelby Harris, as he fears players ‘could knock themselves out’ by leading with their heads in games because they’re used to protection
- Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Shelby Harris is wary of NFL Guardian Caps
- The protection has been implemented in training to try to reduce head trauma
- Fears have been expressed they could lead to players endangering themselves
- Harris and New York Jets’ Robert Saleh believes stars could use their heads more
Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Shelby Harris has hit out at the use of Guardian Caps in training, blasting the soft-shell helmets ‘stupid’.
The Guardian Cap was adopted during the annual league meetings in March as part of the NFL’s ongoing effort to reduce head trauma during practices.
But fears have been expressed that they could actually have the opposite impact, with negative effects developing eventually and Harris believes players could endanger themselves in games.
‘They’re stupid,’ he said. ‘Because here’s the thing though, I get what they’re trying to do, but the main thing is, you might have guys that start leading with their head more because they’re used to not feeling it, and don’t know they’re doing it, because they have this big old helmet thing on.
‘And then you get in the game, and next thing you know, they knock themselves out.
‘I don’t know, I just don’t think this is necessarily the answer because of the fact that if you do get used to getting hit in the head with this, you wouldn’t even know. But, you do something in practice without that thing on, you’re like, “OK, I’m not doing that again”.
Guardian Caps are being used during NFL training camps to try to reduce head trauma
Seattle Seahawks defensive linesman Shelby Harris (not pictured) has hit out at the use of Guardian Caps in training (above), blasting the soft-shell helmets ‘stupid’
The waffled helmet creates a soft-shell layer that can reduce impact of helmet-to-helmet hits
WHAT IS THE GUARDIAN CAP?
Waffled, soft-shell helmet that reduces the impact of helmet-to-helmet hits
Closely resembles rugby’s scrum cap
Introduced as part of the NFL’s ongoing effort to reduce head trauma during practices
Can reduce the force of head contact by 10 percent for one player
Can reduce the force of head contact by 20 percent if every player involved in a collision is wearing one
Offensive and defensive lineman, right ends and linebackers required to wear them in training
Used between training camp start and second preseason games
Guardian Caps reduces the impact of helmet-to-helmet hits
‘I honestly think that you will end up having more head-to-head blows because you’re used to having the helmet pad on.
‘I get what they’re trying to do now, but I think later on it’s going to cause more of a problem.’
Harris’s concerns come after New York Jets coach Robert Saleh stated similar worries over the new Guardian Caps.
He claimed players will suffer a ‘shock’ when they are removed because soft-shell helmets encourage players to ‘use their heads more’.
‘I think the spirit of it all is really good. It’s got great benefits… but I do think there’s a balance in everything, right?’ Saleh said Saturday, via ESPN. ‘Too much of anything is a bad thing.
‘I do think because of the soft blow, it’s kind of lending the players to use their heads a little bit more.
‘I do think the first time when they take it off — anybody who has played football knows the first time you take your helmet off or you hit with the helmet or you have a collision, there’s a shock.
‘I do think that if you’re waiting until the first game for that shock to happen… I don’t know, time will tell. It’s just interesting with those Guardian Caps and what exactly are we trying to accomplish.’
The waffled helmet covering creates a soft-shell layer that can significantly reduce the impact of helmet-to-helmet hits, according to the company.
According to the league, the cap can reduce the force of head contact by 10 percent when worn by one player, and by 20 percent if every player involved in a collision has one covering their helmet.
Players at certain positions deemed to be at greater risk are required to wear the caps between the start of training camp and the second preseason game, when concussion rates typically spike. Offensive and defensive lineman, right ends, and linebackers have been wearing the protection.
New York Jets coach Robert Saleh has also expressed concerns over the new Guardian Cap