When one northwest high school football team suits up for practice this year, they won't look like most teams.
The Eagles of Cedar Park Christian High School are trading looks for safety with new helmets aimed at reducing head impact. Although the helmets aren't foolproof, this high school hopes that will lead to a reduction in concussions.
Cedar Park is the first in Washington state to use Guardian Caps. The one-size-fits-all helmet shell is scientifically tested to reduce the impact of a hit by 33 percent.
"The kids haven't complained, they actually like it," said Bill Marsh, head coach of the varsity football team. Marsh and the schools athletic director wanted to set an example for other schools in the effort to reduce head injuries.
The Guardian Caps are only used during practice.
"The hits feel softer and it's giving other kids, that wouldn't have considered coming out to play, the opportunity to play without the fear of getting hurt," Marsh said.
Recent studies show, for young people ages 15 to 24, sports are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury behind motor vehicle crashes. Concussions have been proven to have life long affects.
Nationwide, more than 400 teams are using Guardian Caps in practice, including at least one college team. The South Carolina Gamecocks, currently ranked No. 9 in the nation, began using the helmet shells last season.