Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.
When it comes to contact sports, safety is a top concern for players, parents and coaches. Face and head protection equipment offer some of the easiest and most effective methods for athletes to protect themselves from serious injury. An infographic from National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) provides some tips and suggestions…
Helmets are required in football, ice hockey, baseball, softball and men’s lacrosse. They’re designed to prevent skull fractures, but not concussions. (Check out “Concussion 101 for Parents & Athletes.”) Helmets should display a sticker from the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. They should be certified on a regular basis. Learn how to properly fit a football helmet here.
Face masks are required for ice hockey, men’s lacrosse, football and softball (depending on the state). They’re used to protect the eyes and jaw in hockey and lacrosse and the facial bones in football. Be aware that different positions need different types of protection. For example, the face mask of a football lineman will have a more closed cage than that of a quarterback or receiver.
Protective goggles are required for field hockey and girls’ lacrosse (in some states). Small ball sports, such as racquetball and tennis, may require protective goggles, as well. Some basketball players, football players, and swimmers also opt for goggles to protect the eyes and surrounding bones.
Wrestlers and water polo players are required to ware ear protection to prevent injuries to the ears and scalp. Even if protective gear isn’t required during practices, athletes should still wear it to stop preventable injuries, such as swimmer’s ear, cauliflower ear, or broken blood vessels.
Mouth guards can prevent injuries to the teeth and mouth in field hockey, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, and wrestling (if the athlete wears braces or an orthodontic device). Mouth guards are an easy and low-cost way to prevent serious injuries, including tooth and root fractures and tooth displacement.
Contusions, lacerations, and fractures may all be prevented with a throat guard – often required for hockey and lacrosse goalies, as well as softball and baseball catchers. There are various types of throat guards available. Choose one that’s most comfortable and offers the most protection for your position.
For more information, check out the full infographic below…
Schedule With Dr. Rosemary Buckle
For other Houston sports medicine needs, schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics by calling (713) 756-5546.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.