Imagine having the highest number of touchdowns in NFL and living your dream, but oh, another concussion. You can’t let it all go down the drain. You do not want to miss out on your chance of becoming the best player of the season in the last games. After scoring high the whole season, no one would want to sit on the benches and watch someone else take the title. Right?
It’s true that you only live once but you have got to make sure that you live through. It is important to ensure your own safety during the gameplay. Why give a second thought when you want to invest in yourself, for your own safety? The most important safety equipment for a football player is the helmet.
There isn’t a specific part in the helmet which will protect you from fatal head injuries. All the parts have separate specialized functions; they all work as a system to make sure you do not end up breaking your skull bones or face internal bleeding.
The helmets may vary in material and quality depending on the brand manufacturing them, the price, and of course the purpose. They all have a basic design and all of them work to save you from making the green grass red.
The part of the helmet which is hollow and round that is worn over the head; the actual helmet part is called the shell. It is hard and made out of a material called polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is a unique plastic that is tough and durable, yet so lightweight that it does not make the head heavy. These qualities make polycarbonate a perfect material to be used in the helmets. It has the ability to protect the head from a huge forceful impact, which basically means protecting your skull bones from fractures.
The shell made up of polycarbonate is hard. This wouldn’t even directly fit on to the player’s head and the material is also a little uncomfortable. Inside the shell, football helmets have a softer protection usually made up of foam, known as the padding. The paddings are of multiple types.
1- Expanded polypropylene foam
This is the kind of padding which is found abundantly in the interior of the helmet. It is a stiff kind of foam that absorbs impacts, protecting the skull bones from damage. It is placed at points that receive higher impact.
2- Vinyl Nitrile foam
This kind of padding is stiff in texture. It is placed at the top of the helmet since most of the impact is received there. It serves as your savior when you bounce hard into other players. Its high density allows it to do the job.
3- Soft foam
In the forehead and jaws region, the padding is much softer and more comfortable for a pleasurable football experience. Since these areas usually have less forceful impacts in the gameplay, it doesn’t even require much shock absorbance power.
However, be mindful that the soft foam cannot protect you from hits that will twist the head on the other side. It is mainly for comfort to the player.
4- Air bladders
Some really good helmets used by professionals have an additional layer of padding, called the air bladders. An inflation port is located on a side of the helmet which allows the players to inflate and deflate the air inside, adjusting the helmet fitting and making it as comfortable it can be for the player.
While you protect your head, it is equally important to protect your teeth, nose, and jaws. The rack-like, bridge-case style part of the helmet is known as the face mask, it is built in such a way that the player can easily see and breathe through it. This serves to protect the face from direct contact of other players or while falling on the ground. Some facemasks are smaller than other facemasks, mostly depending on the position of the player. If the position of the player will get him in contact with more players, then the facemask will have greater coverage.
The helmets in the olden times were made up of a strap that tied close to Adam’s apple. Although it would hold the helmet on your head, there was still some room for movement. The chinstrap which is an essential part of the helmets made today will hold the helmet in place better than when it is tied around your neck. It also prevents neck injuries which are quite uncommon but were still witnessed due to the strap around the neck. The chin straps have adjustment options and some have soft padding for extra comfort.
Since chin straps are a relatively new feature, they must be put on properly. To correctly place a chinstrap locate them on each side of the helmet. Position each side of the strap on the sides of the helmet. Pull down until they come in contact.
Note: Not wearing a chinstrap properly will do you no good. Instead, there might be a chance of your helmet coming off when you hit the ground.
This is the latest addition to the safety features of a football helmet. The visor also known as the eye shield is made up of unbreakable glass and attached to the face mask to prevent the players from eye injuries. If the player has a pre-existing eye injury, a tinted visor may be used.
Although helmets cannot guarantee concussion-free games, they can definitely protect you from serious injuries.
A helmet can be an ultimate life saver for you during a hard collision or perhaps when the football hits you so hard that your ears go numb. However, this is only possible if you are wearing the right helmet size.
Pro Tip: Be so particular about the size of your helmet like girls are about their dresses.
Always go and try on a helmet before you decide to buy it. Find out the head size and try it on. Sizes will vary from brand to brand. It’s the matter of your life, you should never risk it. Plus, wearing a loosened helmet never feels comfortable. Rest assured, spending a few extra bucks won’t go to waste.
Always take care of your helmet, check for any sort of damaged or broken parts before you put it on, and step into the field. Clean it properly. Protect it, do not play or let anyone play with it. Store it in a safe place so that it lasts long. Remember the 10 and out rule. Do not use a helmet for more than 10 years. Most might have to be replaced sooner. Remember that it is all to protect you.