Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Sports Protective Wear For Safety

By Lila Barry

Safety in sports has garnered more and more attention in recent years due to the increasing numbers of people participating and the need for injury prevention. Properly caring for and maintaining facilities and equipment is one method of ensuring safety while the enforcement of rules made for the protection of the participants is another. The most obvious example though, is the increased use of sports protective wear.

A wide variety of this type of gear is available, varying according to which sport is being played and the particular needs of the user. Certain sports have rules requiring the use of specific types of protective wear because of the intrinsic dangers involved. There are also additional options for those with special needs or conditions.

One obvious example of a sport that requires the use of a significant amount of protective wear is American football. A helmet with a face mask, a mouth guard and shoulder pads are the absolute minimum. Pads for this hips, knees, thighs and tailbone are generally necessary as well.

Another sport in which the players have seemingly every body part covered is ice hockey. This game is also a demonstration of how the use of protective gear has evolved over time. Many years ago helmets were not commonly worn in hockey despite the violent nature of the game and the hardness of the ice. Surprisingly, not even goalies used head or face protection even though their role is to use their bodies to stop a hard piece of rubber that is flying at a great velocity. Now, however, helmets are mandatory in nearly every hockey league and goalies are well-padded.

The type of safety gear that is used more than any other is probably helmets. Because concussions and other head injuries can be severely debilitating, these are particularly important pieces to be worn. Besides the aforementioned American football and ice hockey, cycling, skiing, snowboarding, auto racing, horse riding, baseball and many others utilize them as well.

In some instances this type of equipment is a bit less obvious. For example, in surfing one can wear a rash guard that serves two purposes. One is to prevent chafing from the board rubbing directly on the skin and the other is to prevent sunburn. The leash that attaches to the surfer's leg and the board could also be considered a type of protection, not only for that particular surfer but to keep the board from getting away and endangering others.

There are times when items beyond what is required by the rules may be needed. When one has suffered an injury and is returning to play, they many choose to wear some type of brace or tape, such as with a sprained ankle. This is also commonly done for chronic injuries, for example bracing or taping an ankle that is not currently injured but has been in the past.

Sports protective wear is widely available and can be quite effective in preventing and protecting injuries. Each sport involves some level of risk. Each participant should be aware of these risks and their own needs and choose their gear accordingly.

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