Play Smart: Proper Protective Equipment for Football

Steven B. Cohen, MD September 17th, 2018

Proper Protective Equipment Can Effectively Help Prevent Football Injuries

Protective gear: it’s not just for looks. While certain elements of the football uniform are functionally inconsequential — like the print on your jersey or the symbols on your helmet — the protective equipment underneath the uniform is essential for not just the competitive activity of the player but their immediate and long-term health and safety.

Personal protective equipment is not optional for athletes: it’s absolutely necessary. Football players in particular face unmatched risks for sports injuries. American football is the most dangerous sport by considerable margins; and, in America, it is one of the most widely played. This makes consistent, proper use of appropriate protective equipment doubly important.

Protective Equipment for Football: The Eight Essentials

At Rothman Orthopaedic Institute in Glen Mills, we want to reduce the number of sports injuries suffered by football players to an absolute minimum. Part of reducing football injuries is raising awareness of the risks at play — and how they can be effectively mitigated. That’s why we’ve compiled the following personal protective equipment list of gear items that are essential for every football player:

  1. Helmet
    More football players suffer concussions than players of any other sport. Properly-fitted helmets are the most effective tool for preventing concussions and head injuries.

  2. Shoulder Pads
    Strains, sprains, contusions, fractures, dislocations, and separations are all common football shoulder injuries that may be caused by intense impact. The use of shoulder pads is a must.

  3. Hip Pads
    Football athletes’ hips are susceptible to strains, impingements, and bursitis. While bursitis is non-traumatic in nature, the forceful impacts that may cause twists, strains, or sprains (and other similar injuries) can be prevented by hip pads.

  4. Thigh Pads
    Hamstring and quadriceps injuries make up 13% of the total injuries suffered by football players. Wearing thigh pads can help to prevent strains, tears, contusions, and more.

  5. Knee Pads
    Knee injuries are among the most common traumatic football injuries. Knee pads, thus, are essential in the prevention of such injuries as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) tears, and injuries to the meniscus cartilage.

  6. Mouthpiece
    Facial impacts with either other players or the ground are common in football, which can damage the mouth and teeth. Mouth guards help protect players’ oral health.

  7. Jockstrap and Cup
    Jockstraps and cups help to protect some of the most sensitive and delicate body parts of football players. Without these types of protective equipment, highly painful and damaging injuries may occur.

  8. Gloves
    Gloves are more important than they may initially appear. They help to prevent injuries and lacerations to the hands, which would otherwise be vulnerable and exposed.

Always ensuring that yourself and all fellow football players are fully and properly equipped with these eight essential pieces of protective equipment (along with any other pieces of gear advised by your coach or trainer) can help to prevent serious injury and help you to have a safe football season. If you have any questions about football injuries or have suffered an injury and wish to have the best sports injury treatment available, contact the experts at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute in Glen Mills. Please visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.

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