Making An Impact On Concussions With "Guardian Caps"

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DEWITT (WILX)-- When it comes to football concussions most people think about the hits in the games and that's it. But there are so many more of those collisions every day in practice. For good teams, that practice can last an extra three-to-five weeks every year.

The Dewitt Panthers, who usually make a run deep into the playoffs, found a way to cushion those head-to-head blows in practice.

After one of their players took a nasty hit this fall coach Rob Zimmerman decided to try out "Guardian Caps."

"We had a player that had a slight concussion so after he was cleared to come back we had one of those and decided to put him in it. He said it felt very effective in practice," said Zimmerman.

Now each player has one. It's a padded cap that goes around their helmet, and it's purpose is to reduce impact.

"We haven't had too many head issues since we've put them on."

"You can't even tell it's on there until a collision. It feels a lot better than a normal (hit) head to head," said senior football player, Cameron Cleminson.

And he should know, as a defensive lineman Cleminson has already had three concussions, but none so far this season.

"You get that ring in your ears and dizzy and sick. I haven't felt like that since I put this on," said Cleminson.

Right now the team is only using the guardian caps in practice, but that's actually were most of the concussions occur.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association is aware of the guardian cap, but because it hasn't been proven to prevent concussions, they don't plan on making them mandatory anytime soon.

"There are certainly options out there that the schools are looking at and they do that from school to school," said Geoff Kimmerly, MHSAA spokesperson.

Instead they're working on revising practice policies, and modifying game rules to reduce more head injuries in the future.

"From a practice stand point we are looking at setting a certain amount of days. that you can have a certain level of collisions."

It's all a work in progress. Right now, teams are required to take a player off the field after a head injury. They cannot return to the field until they get a doctor's permission.

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