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NFL helmets will look a little different in 2024, as the league has allowed players the option of wearing the Guardian Caps during games this season, the league announced Friday. Previously, the NFL required all players who are not quarterbacks or kickers/punters to wear the devices during practices as a protective measure. Now, we could see them on Sundays. 

Earlier this spring, NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills hosted a webinar with a panel that included Dawn Aponte, who is the NFL's Chief Football Administrative Officer. During the course of the discussion, Aponte mentioned the new "option" to wear Guardian Caps during a game, as was first reported by Pro Football Talk.

"We now have two years of data showing significant concussion reductions among players who wear Guardian Caps during practice so players will be permitted to wear the cap during games this upcoming season," said NFL executive vice president of health and safety Jeff Miller. "Additionally, there are new helmets this year that provide as much -- if not more -- protection than a different helmet model paired with a Guardian Cap. These developments represent substantial progress in our efforts to make the game safer for players."

These special caps have padded, soft-shell layers designed to reduce impact. As Miller mentioned, the NFL has found evidence that this new kind of protective gear has reduced concussion numbers.

It remains to be seen how many players will take up the NFL on its new offer. The Guardian Caps aren't for those looking to make a fashion statement out on the field, but they do serve their purpose.