USA Football
Football Equipment

The sport of tackle football has always been unique to most fans. One of football's most interesting aspects is the equipment that each player wears on the field. This gear is worn specifically to protect the player while participating in the game. In addition to buying the correct types of equipment, it is important to ensure that the equipment itself fits properly. Here is glossary list of some equipment.

Football Helmet - The helmet is typically the most recognizable piece of all sports equipment. It protects various parts of the head from collisions with other players and the ground. There are different types of helmets including their padding structure. One must follow the manufacturer's guidelines to ensure proper fitting.

Face Mask - Shields the face from contact and collisions. Most importantly, it protects the nose. Broken noses were quite common among the gridironers back in the early days of the game. There are various styles of the face mask, depending on position, which provides the player with several options.

Mouth Piece - The mouth piece is fitted and should be inserted into the mouth prior to any live play in practice and a game. The mouth piece does protect player's teeth but even more importantly, it protects from concussions resulting from blows to the head. It can be either attached or unattached to the helmet.

Jaw Pads - These are designed to protect the jaw and are snapped to the bottom of the helmet. It is all part of the system designed to absorb the force of contact to the head, and protect them from sustaining a concussion.

Chin Strap - The sole purpose of the strap is to fasten the helmet securely on the players head.

Shoulder Pads - These pads tend to take the most abuse during the course of the game. Shoulder pads are extremely important because they cushion the impact a player makes with other players and the ground. This protects the shoulders, chest, and back. There are two types of shoulder pads: flat and cantilevered. The position that the player regularly plays and the tasks involved with each position determines the type of pads needed. Players who do more blocking and tackling require the bulkier, cantilevered type whereas receivers and quarterbacks use the flat type that allows for more mobility.

Thigh Pads - The thigh pads are the biggest leg pads and are worn underneath the pants. They protect the quadriceps muscles from collisions with other players and the ground. There are many different sizes for players at different positions. Kickers and punters generally wear the smallest size pads because those positions receive the least amount of contact.

Hip & Tailbone Pads - These pads are probably the smallest pads required for competition. The hip and tailbone pad protect both respective areas. They are made of foam and are held in check by the girdle.

Knee Pads - Protecting the knees, these pads fit inside the lower part of the pants.

Shock Pads - Worn often by running backs, linebackers, and receivers, shock pads are designed to absorb impact and provide additional support to the shoulders, chest, and back. These lightweight pads are worn underneath the shoulder pads.

Rib Pads - A lot of quarterbacks wear rib pads. These specialty-type pads are often worn by older, more experienced athletes, to protect their ribs and lower back from blind hits.

Receiver Gloves - Worn by almost every specialty position, (Receivers, Running backs, Defensive Backs), these gloves can provide an advantage for catching the football. They can be especially helpful when playing in cold weather.

Linemen Gloves - These gloves are worn by both offensive and defensive linemen. They protect the hands, knuckles, and fingers of both positions. You will find that they have much more padding than the receiver gloves.

Neck Roll - Worn primarily by linebackers and defensive linemen, the neck roll is used to protect the head from whiplash during straight ahead contact.