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CFL players permitted to wear Guardian caps in games, mouthguards mandatory

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The safety measures come into effect immediately, as was announced by the CFL on Wednesday

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The Canadian Football League has introduced some new safety measures ahead of the 2024 season.

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As announced by the CFL on Wednesday, all players will be required to wear mouthguards this year, while players can also use Guardian caps during games.

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The CFL becomes the first North American league to introduce the mandatory use of mouthguards, while the league follows suit with the NFL, who recently permitted the use of Guardian caps in games.

Guardian caps, which are soft-shell helmet covers, were first introduced in the CFL last year during training camp and into the regular season practices.

At first, it was the offensive linemen, defensive linemen, linebackers and receivers wearing the caps but now that has been expanded to defensive backs, receivers, quarterbacks and specialists during contact practices.

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Any one of those players can now opt to wear the added protection in a game.

The CFL says in 2023, the introduction of Guardian caps and other safety measures led to a 42 per cent decrease in training camp concussions.

As for mouthguards, the CFL said in a release that the protective benefits of mouthguards have been added to the league’s mandatory concussion education.

The league is also permitting the use of GPS tracking technology during practices, which allow players to wear devices which provide real-time data on movement, speed, G-force, location, acceleration and deceleration. The data is said to assist with “injury prevention, rehab monitoring and load management.”

Along with the added safety measures for players, the CFL is also introducing league meetings and professional development opportunities for medical staff, which include sharing and exchanging best practices, along with further advanced emergency scenario training.

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The league is also adding an injury spotter assistant to the CFL’s command centre during games. The CFL says there will be additional camera angles and extra video technology for that role as well.

“Through additional equipment, education, training and staffing, we are helping to ensure our players have long and productive careers,” CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a release. “Players give so much of themselves for our game – their effort, energy, time spent away from family and loved ones, and more.

“For all they do, we owe it to them to explore every avenue to safeguard their efforts on the field, so that they can play to their fullest potential and also lead rich and fulfilling lives after their playing days are behind them.”

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