Some CFL players will be sporting a new look during training camp.
Offensive and defensive linemen, running backs and linebackers will all be wearing a Guardian Cap, a soft-shell helmet cover that’s engineered to reduce impact by at least 10 per cent for an individual player and at least 20 per cent when worn by both participants. The CFL has mandated the use of the headgear by players in the four position groups but others can use it though they’re not mandated to do so.
“Our players are our game’s greatest ambassadors, both on and off the field,” CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said. “We must continue to explore new equipment, technology and best practices to help ensure they are physically and emotionally able to have long and successful careers.
“As athletes evolve through better nutrition, training regimens and a clearer understanding of the human body, so too will our game. As a league, we must embrace that evolution and work with our players to create an exciting and competitive, but safe, football environment.”
Teams will begin donning the Guardian Caps during training camp upon receipt. Players will continue wearing the protective gear throughout the regular season during padded practices.
The implementation of the Guardian Cap is one of several health-and-safety measures the CFL, in consultation with its medical committee, will introduce this season.
Clubs will have collapsible tents on their bench during games for medical assessments and/or examinations. They’ll be visible on both benches and only raised when needed.
The league has enhanced pregame medical meetings. In addition to medical personnel, the gatherings will also include security and staff from the venue operations and game presentation departments.
Staff from all nine teams will not only need training that satisfies professional requirement but also complete advanced development courses in such areas as emergency medical response – sports training as well as in-air emergency preparedness training.
Also, team personnel working with players in strength and conditioning or physical performance capacities must be certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
The CFL is also involved in numerous scientific research studies with Dalhousie University, Concordia University, McGill University, University of Manitoba, University of Alberta, University of Victoria and The University of British Columbia.