Equipment Needed to Play Football

Football center ready to snap ball
Football equipment is designed to protect the players from injury. (Image: Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

When playing football you must be properly and safely equipped. Football players are covered in modern day armor to ensure their safety while playing rough and competitive football. Players may wear other items on the field, depending on personal preferences and league rules, but some equipment is not optional. From youth leagues to college-level games, the players must wear approved and mandatory safety equipment to play football, states the National Federation of High School Associations.

Helmet, Chinstrap And Mouthpiece

One of the most important pieces of equipment is the helmet. The helmet is composed of a facemask and the helmet itself. With growing awareness of concussions associated with football, wearing a helmet properly is extremely important. According to USA Football, the helmet will be placed so the front edge will rest 1 inch above your eyebrows and will fastened to your head via the chinstrap. The chinstrap will attach on both sides of the helmet and fit snug under your chin. The chinstrap will prevent your helmet from flying off during running or contact. The mouthpiece is also a required piece of equipment when playing football. The mouthpiece's main purpose is to protect your mouth from injury.

Shoulder Pads

Shoulder pads must be worn when playing football. They absorb shock when being hit, and allow you to tackle with reduced risk of injury. Shoulder pads come in various sizes, depending on the position you play. Quarterbacks tend to have smaller and lighter shoulder pads so that their natural throwing motion is not affected, while players such as linebackers and defensive ends have larger shoulder pads to protect their bodies from constant impact.

Waist And Leg Pads

Your lower body needs protection too. From youth- to college-level football, you are required to wear leg and hip pads, which include hip, tailbone, knee and thigh pads. These are inserted in the football pants themselves or a sports girdle worn under the football pants. The hip and tailbone pads may also be tied around the waist with a sports belt. In addition, although it is not always required, male players should always wear a cup to protect the sensitive groin area from impact during the play.

Cleats

You need proper footwear when playing football. Plastic or metal tipped football cleats must be worn. However, rubber tips may be required in youth football leagues. USA Football reports that football cleats protect the mid-sole of the foot, providing more support in lateral movement and quickly applying power and acceleration for contact. Football cleats also come in three styles: high-cut, mid-cut and low-cut. High-cut cleats provide the most ankle support, but hinder ability to maneuver in comparison to the others. Mid-cuts supply a balance of ankle support and ease of ankle mobility, and low-cuts are designed to be lightweight to allow quick mobility.

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