Local invention to help combat head injuries

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ATLANTA - An Atlanta couple’s invention to help reduce the risk of head injuries on the football field is making its way to schools across the nation and in the metro area.

Channel 2’s Craig Lucie interviewed a former NFL football player about the benefits and if the Guardian Cap works.

“You get a cumulative set of repetitive blows over and over especially for lineman and linebackers and that add up over the course of the season. So what are we doing for this athlete long term? What are we doing to maintain his overall brain heath?” Matt Simonds of Guardian Caps says.

Simonds adds that the Atlanta couple who invented the padded sleeve that slips on over a football helmet did years of research to prove it works.

Lucie asked how much the cap can reduce the impact of a hit.

“Our biomechanical testing is anywhere between 25 to 33 percent. It also depends on the speed and location of the hit, but it’s a fourth to a third reductions,” Simonds says.

When Atlanta’s Erin and Lee Hanson designed this helmet, the padding was the main ingredient, but they also thought about the material on the outside when it comes to those hard knocks.

“What you want to avoid is the sticking so this material is super slick material similar to those Olympic swim suits,” Simonds says.

Right now, Simonds says there are more than 400 schools in the nation who bought the Guardian Caps which retail for around $65. Nationwide they have between 400-500 high schools, 100 to 200 youth programs and 15 to 20 colleges that are using the caps. He says at least 25 schools in metro Atlanta are using them including Pace Academy.

Chris Slade is a 9- season NFL veteran and now the head football coach of Pace Academy. He said he will not allow his players to practice without the guardian caps.

“It allows you to play a little freer, if you will. Nothing is 100 percent, but parents are a little more apt to let their kids play. It teaches our kids how to tackle and its awareness more than anything else,” Slade said.

Clemson University has been using the Guardian Caps and when Georgia State takes the field for a scrimmage on Saturday, they will use the caps for the first time.

The Guardian Caps are only used during practice for now and Simonds says that’s due to "logo" issues on helmets.