Sports are great. They’re social, and you get to exercise while doing something fun with your friends. What’s not great is that sports carry incredible physical risk. Of course, you can be careful as much as you can, but unforeseeable circumstances can happen. That’s why we wear protective gear- to help lessen the chances of injuries. But should we really be worried about injuries if we’re playing a good round of basketball with friends?
Injuries Can Happen Anytime
The simple truth is that injuries can happen anytime, anywhere, and with any sport. Studies show that almost 4 million kids aged 14 below are hurt every year just by playing sports. As we get older, we become physically stronger and wiser, but injuries can still happen. What’s interesting is that these accidents rarely happen during actual play or competition, but during practice.
This is largely attributed to the lax protective measures when practicing. We don’t suit up as much as we do during “serious competition.” When practicing, some martial artists tend not to wear mouthguards. Skaters don’t wear helmets. Basketball players play with old shoes. Many even choose to wear cheaper variations of their regular protective equipment.
Injuries are why we should take protective sports gear seriously. They’re not just there for show; they’re there to protect us. Below are more reasons why you should never skimp on good-quality gear.
It Protects You from the Elements
Outdoor sports require a particular set of equipment as you’re more exposed to the elements. Pants for snow activities aren’t just for keeping you cold but also for freedom of movement. The same goes for rash guards and breathable shirts in sports like surfing and running. In surfing, the rashguard not only protects you from chafing and scratching your skin but also from sunburn, which can severely damage your skin. Breathable running shirts function similarly, but with the added benefit of being extremely lightweight, not slowing you down.
Avoid Concussion with Helmets
Concussions are among the most dangerous aspects of sports. Regardless of what sport you’re doing, there’s an increased risk of head trauma- especially for high contact sports. While helmets have long been thought to make you look “bad,” their importance isn’t in how it makes you look cool but how it protects you. Particularly, in extreme sports, the risks of suffering from severe head trauma are drastically decreased by wearing helmets. It can help mitigate concussions, prevent skull fractures, and even avoid getting your hair caught while moving.
Mouthguards to Prevent Losing a Tooth
The difference between a good time with friends and a bad one is losing a tooth. Roughhousing is inevitable in many sports, most especially highly physical ones. A mouth guard prevents that from happening. You may get a busted lip, but at least that will heal and “grow bacK,” unlike a lost tooth. It also adds the added benefit of helping you not to bite your tongue- which, if you do high-impact sports often enough, is something that actually happens.
Eye Protection is Necessary
Eye injuries are among the most common in sports because the eyes are a soft organ. But another important reason why is because there’s little emphasis on wearing protective eye gear. However, almost 90% of eye injuries in sports can be prevented by simply using the correct eyewear. Be it goggles or sunglasses, if there’s an increased risk of eye injuries in your sport, always consider wearing one.
Joint Guards and Padding for Better Movement and Protection
Sports like hockey and football wear extensive protective equipment to guarantee their safety. While the padding is common in these sports, using smaller and more appropriate forms of protective padding in others helps too. Especially if you have injured joins, using joint guards with accompanying padding can go a long way in making you feel more comfortable and protected. It also helps cover the fragile bones, such as wrists, fingers, and toes, from breaking when you suddenly hit them.
Longer and Safer Play
Of course, the primary reason we wear protective gear is so that we can play safer. Safety should always be a priority in any sport that you play. While it is fun to go bare or “hardcore,” it’s not as fun to go home injured. Not only is it excruciatingly painful, but it also takes significant time to heal, preventing you from actually enjoying the sport you love so much. So always consider your protective gear- don’t skimp on them, as that will only invite injuries when they’re stressed to the limit and they break.