The fall is just around the corner—the student athletes in your family might already have started practices to prep for the upcoming season. But when it comes to staying safe in outdoor practices and games, there are several ways you can outfit your athlete with the right protection.
Here are five pieces of protective gear you should keep in mind.
Athletic glasses aren’t merely for those students who wear contact lenses or traditional glasses in their daily lives—eye protection is a great option for vision safety in general. Ensure you’re using certified sports protective eyewear that meets the standards and rules of the sport in question. Not all sports eyewear is prescribed—you can wear this type of protection to prevent injury or impact and to block out over-exposure to UV rays.
Their requirement in organized sports varies, but any contact-sport athletes should at least consider a mouthguard, whether it’s mandated or not. This level of protection can reduce your risk of tooth chips or breaks, and even cuts on the inside of your mouth. Just make sure that it’s been properly fitted to your jaw—have it fitted by a sports medicine professional for best results.
Many sports, particularly high-impact ones, require use of a helmet for all or part of game time. But if your student athlete’s helmet isn’t properly fitted, it can’t truly do its job to the best of its potential. Make sure the pads inside the helmet, the chin strap and the face mask meet standards set by your state’s athletic board. As far as fit goes, a good rule of thumb is that it should fit relatively snugly without use of the chin strap. Make sure to check for a NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) sticker—it’s the organization that regulates the safety of helmets.
Depending on the sport, joint protection could be critical for you student athlete. This may include the standard elbow and knee pads for resisting injury from tumbles and contact with competitors. Hip and tail pads are required for high-contact sports such as football or hockey and can provide protection from contusions.
Depending on the time of year, one piece of protective gear that may be easy to count out are those that screen out sun exposure. Whether it’s visors or billed hats to keep sun out of eyes in outdoor events or proper application of sunblock, student athletes spend a great deal of time in direct sunlight in practices, games and meets. Reduce the risk of skin cancer and other related complications by planning ahead.