Gear Essentials for Football

Football not only requires hard work and practice, but also the correct gear. To prevent injuries and maximize performance on the field, football players need to wear and use proper equipment.

Whether you're a player or a parent, this checklist will help you get ready for the first practice of the season.

Football Helmet

There are two types of football helmets that provide adequate protection for the head: air helmets and suspension helmets. Players must wear one of these helmets at all times during practice and games.

The air helmet utilizes an inflatable device that adjusts specifically to the shape and size of the player's head. Inflate or deflate the helmet with a pump or tighten the chinstrap to adjust the fit.

A thick padded material forms the inner lining of the suspension helmet, while the chinstrap adjusts the fit of this helmet.

Note: Whichever helmet you choose, make sure it fits snuggly on the player's head.

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Facemask

A facemask, as the name implies, protects the player's face from contact injuries. It resembles a cage on the front of the helmet made of steel covered in plastic. Determine the type of facemask needed based on the player's position.

Quarterbacks, defensive backs and wide receivers usually choose the two-bar box cage facemask. Running backs, tight ends and linebackers often prefer the four-bar closed cage facemask because it gives more protection for hitting and blocking. The full mask has six bars, which gives the face maximum protection but limits vision. Offensive and defensive linemen tend to like the six-bar because of the close, hard contact they encounter on most plays.

Shoulder Pads

Shoulder pads vary in size and style to accommodate the size and position of the player. Make sure they are both comfortable and non-restrictive. It's essential the shoulder pads fit the player correctly and properly each time they wear them. Fasten all straps and buckles, and wear additions such as neck rolls, cowboy collars and shock pads to prevent injury.

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