In an effort to improve player safety, the NFL is allowing a piece of equipment to be carried from the practice field to the regular game.

"A player has the option to wear it in a game if he wants to," said Dawn Aponte, the league's director of football administration. "There were already some clubs that required all their players to wear them. Last year we expanded it to include regular season training, helmet training and the postseason."

As Aponte noted, the NFL has mandated that all players except quarterbacks, kickers and punters wear Protective Hats during early training camp practices. Last season, this requirement was also enforced during regular season contact drills.

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According to the NFL, the impact of a helmet hit can be reduced by at least 10 percent for a player wearing a Protective Hat. Players who both wore bullets and collided with a helmet-to-helmet collision had their impact force reduced by at least 20 percent.

In 2021, the Los Angeles Rams chose to continue using the hats during practice later in the season to prevent further injuries to players. Quarterback Matthew Stafford injured his hand when he hit a helmet without a cap during a throw, USA Today reported.

Whether players will choose to wear the padded helmet covers during games remains to be seen until the NFL preseason and regular season begin. Some may choose not to wear them so as not to stand out on the field. JJ Watt, for example, said during training camp in 2022 that wearing a hat made him feel "like a bobblehead" that "could fall off".

But others may prefer safety over aesthetics. Aponte said players and teams are "quite open to change". In addition, players were encouraged to wear position-specific helmets based on certain risk factors for head injuries.