The Guardian helmet cap touches down in Columbus - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

The Guardian helmet cap touches down in Columbus

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month, and football coaches in the Fountain City are taking steps to protect their players.

They're talking about guardian caps, a protective cover that adds padding to the outside of a helmet. It's a design that coaches from middle school to the college level have adopted across the country. Now, a school in Columbus is teaming up with the company behind guardian caps to bring the technology to Columbus.

Brad Dehem, Athletic Director at Brookstone School, explains, "Really what we find, and the research sort of proves, is it's just the multiple hits. They don't have to be very big. It's just the number of hits that accumulate that can result in a concussion."

For that reason, Dehem is adding the guardian cap to his equipment bag to help protect players for the 2014 season. Inventors say the item is proven to protect players from traumatic brain injuries.

"It basically reduces impact forces. It's like putting padding on the outside of a helmet," says Lee Hanson, Creator of the guardian cap.

At just seven ounces, the removable cap hooks to the face mask of the helmet, and reduces the severity of blows by up to 33 percent, according to Hanson.

Hanson adds,"It's not connected to the helmet. It floats on top, so you get a movement. So, when you get hit, the cap moves and the helmet doesn't."

To test the cap's effectiveness, Dehem suggested the hand test, asking me to hold out my hand as he smashed two helmets up against it. Though Dehem admits the caps are strange to look at, he jokes, "They're sort of awkward looking at first."

Hearing results from players at the University of South Carolina and Clemson University who wore the caps, Dehem says adopting the Guardian Cap would help ensure the safety of his players.

Dehem says, "The real idea for me is that I want to make sure my kids are getting the safest equipment possible and are getting the very best."

More than a dozen high schools in the state of Georgia alone are already using guardian caps. Dehem says Brookstone High School will forgoe it's spring training to add an additional scrimmage in the Fall, but expects the helmets to hit the football field with the players as they prepare for their upcoming season.

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