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Essential Safety Equipment for Sports

Prevent sports injuries with basic sports safety equipment

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Updated August 04, 2009

Sports safety equipment and gear may sometimes look a little bit odd, but using the right protective safety gear for your sport is essential for preventing serious injuries or reducing the severity of an injury you may receive.

1. Protective Eyewear

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, more than 90 percent of all eye injuries can be prevented with the use of appropriate protective eyewear. This advice definitely applies to athletes or anyone who participates in sports.

2. Helmets

If you play football or hockey, wearing a helmet is clearly a "no-brainer," but many athletes who participate in sports with a high risk of head injury still see the helmet as optional. If you cycle, ski, snowboard, skateboard, or inline skate you should also consider a helmet standard equipment. A properly fitted helmet, designed for the specific sport you play, significantly decreases your risk of suffering a serious head injury.

3. Mouth Guards

If you've ever been smacked in the jaw by a stray ball or flying elbow while playing sports, you probably know how essential a mouth guard is to keeping your teeth intake. But mouth guards also help prevent tongue and lip injuries, and reduce the risk of suffering a concussion or fractured jaw.

Mouth guards should be considered mandatory safety equipment during sports that have any risk of injury to the face, jaw, and mouth. The most effective mouth guards fit well and are comfortable, but they also stay in place, are durable, easy to clean and don't restrict speaking and breathing.

4. Safety Pads and Guards

Safety pads and guards are standard safety equipment in dozens of sports. If you play certain contact sports, such as football, hockey or lacrosse, protective pads are mandatory, but you should wear pads for any contact sport. The type and style of pads seem endless and include shin, knee, elbow, wrist, chest, neck, shoulder, hip, and thigh pads.

Some sports, such as inline skating and skateboarding, include wrist, knee, and elbow guards as standard equipment. These hard plastic guards prevent cuts, scrapes and abrasions and reduce the odds of a major sprain, strain or even a fracture after a hard fall.

5. Proper Footwear and Athletic Shoes

The type of shoe you wear during certain sports can easily be added to the safety equipment list.

Sports cleats are important during field sports, such as football, baseball, and soccer.

The right running shoes can decrease your risk of overuse injuries.

Special cycling shoes can reduce foot pain and increase your pedaling efficiency.

Court shoes with support and good traction are designed specifically for basketball, tennis, and racquetball.

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