Have advancements in sports gear helped players?

By Alexander Douglas |Community Editor|

Since the beginning of sports, equipment has played a big role in playing the sport but not always in keeping players safe.

When baseball first started, the batters did not use helmets, which had caused a lot of injuries.

Football players used leather helmets and shoulder gear with limited padding.

In today’s world, we have seen a change in the gear to help prevent the players from getting injured or at least lessening the damage caused by an injury.

“We have top of the line protection,” said baseball player, Jordan Simon. “From a hitter’s perspective, our helmets are very good. We’ve had five guys get hit in the head this year and they all have been fine with no concussions.”

For instance, soccer players wear shin guards, which have been improved by using plastic to be more durable to strong kicks.

“Shin guards keep us more safe from taking kicks to the shin, which is painful and causes bruises,” said women’s soccer player Breeze Rivers. “Shinguard styles change as a soccer player transitions from playing youth to collegiate because younger players need extra protection.”

Even professional sports organizations are always looking for new gear to help guard their players against harm or reduce the amount of injury caused.

Hockey has more padding for the goalies than they did in the early years.

Football helmets have increased in size since the beginning to slow down blows that the players receive.

Although equipment is ever evolving, we have seen that there are still many injuries occurring.

Gear has been developed to help stop the initial blow such as skull fractures, but it has not stopped the serious damage from concussions.

The problem is that although the helmets have gotten bigger, players are still sustaining concussions because the extra padding is still not enough to slow down the blows to the head.

In fact, neuropathologist, Bennet Omalus finds that over 90 percent of NFL players have chronic encephalopathy (CTE) according to Time magazine.

The symptoms range from mild to severe with problems such as impaired memory or mood problems.

In the National Hockey League, over 323 concussions occurred over three seasons, which can result in lifelong problems for the players according to the Globe and Mail.

These concussions and other injuries are supposed to be blocked or stopped by shoulder pads, kneepads, helmets, gloves and many other pieces of gear but they are ultimately failing at protecting a player from more serious harm.

Equipment is improving but sports organizations need to implement more research into reducing or altogether eliminating these health issues.

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