By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/14/14
Guardian Caps, a soft-shell helmet cover designed to reduce the severity of hits on the lacrosse field, debuted last weekend during the US Lacrosse Convention at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Lee Hanson, founder of Guardian Caps, said the one-size-fits-all device comes in four colors and easily connects to the facemask with four elastic straps. He said the Guardian Caps – which weigh less than 7 ounces – do not affect the integrity of the helmet and are waterproof.
Hanson claims the Guardian Cap cannot prevent head injuries or concussions, but that it will reduce the severity of blows up to 33 percent. Currently the helmet covers are being used by 21,000 football players, mostly at the youth and high school levels, during practice because it does cover the helmet logo.
Founded in 2011, Guardian Caps has received positive feedback from coaches, parents and trainers, and news of the potential safety factor spread to lacrosse officials.
That led to the partnership with Level 2 Sports, which operates the Brine National Lacrosse Classic and other lacrosse events.
“We are honored to be ambassadors of the Guardian Caps technology in the lacrosse market,” said Joel Franklin, Level 2 Sports Events Director. “The success they’ve seen in the short time since their establishment shows a promising future, especially in the lacrosse industry.”
Hanson explained that the Guardian Cap is slippery and greatly lowers rotational torque. He said the Guardian Cap will move after a hard hit, as opposed to the head, preventing sudden twists that could lead to concussions or neck injuries. The Cap has 37 individual pockets (pads) that absorb force.
The lacrosse connection occurred when Hanson was approached by Howard Offit, a member of three NCAA championship teams at Johns Hopkins in the late 1970s and early’80s. His son is Josh Offit, a member of two NCAA championship teams at Duke – which lost its starting goalie Dan Wigrizer (Haverford School) for much of the season due to concussions from being hit by hard shots.
“He said he saw that we were using it for football and noted that concussions are just as big a problem in lacrosse with head injury impact from sticks and balls and players hitting each other,” Hanson said.
Franklin said Level 2 Sports seeks to help the sport of lacrosse progress to a safer game.
“We wanted to keep the company innovative and we saw Howard’s article (on the Caps being used in football) in the summer,” said Franklin. “Howard contacted him and we want to be the ambassadors to brand the drive.”