When Ohio State opened fall camp on Thursday morning, sophomore defensive tackle Tyleik Williams and redshirt freshman offensive tackle Zen Michalski were among a handful of players wearing a padded covering on top of their helmets.
Research shows the 12-ounce soft shell, known as the Guardian Cap, results in at least a 10 percent reduction in severity of impact if one player is wearing it and at least a 20 percent reduction if two players are wearing the protective gear.
That’s why the NFL is requiring offensive and defensive linemen, tight ends and linebackers from all 32 teams to wear them in practice through the second game of the preseason as it looks to reduce the number of head injuries that occur.
Not mandatory at lower levels of the sport, meanwhile, the Buckeyes now join more than 200 other colleges and 2,000 high schools across the country with players wearing the Guardian Caps.
“There’s been a lot of research done,” head coach Ryan Day said during his post-practice press conference. “We made it optional for our guys to use that if they felt like it was appropriate for them. We’ve talked to them about it, about some of the things that have been done, asked them to do their own research and there were some guys that decided to use them.”
Other Football Bowl Subdivision programs with players wearing the Guardian Caps include Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami (Fla.), Michigan State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Stanford, Texas A&M and USC, among others.
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