Take the time to wear all appropriate equipment and be sure it fits properly.

Source: USA Today

USA TODAY High School Sports and the National Athletic Trainers’ Association partnered on a monthly column to address injuries, prevention and related issues to help schools, coaches and student-athletes. Scott Sailor, the president of NATA, offered tips for players looking to protect their heads and faces.

Helmets

  • Helmets are mandatory in high school football. They are designed to prevent skull fractures, not prevent concussions.
  • It’s critical that helmets be properly fitted. Your athletic trainer can help ensure this and that all other equipment is appropriate for you and the position you play in the sport.
  • Helmets should display a NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) sticker and should be recertified through standards on a regular basis – check with your school’s athletic director or head coach to be sure this is happening.

Facemasks

  • Facemasks are required in high school football.
  • The goal of a football face mask is to protect all of the facial bones.
  • Different positions necessitate different types of facemasks to offer a specific type of protection; for example, the helmet for a football lineman will have a more closed cage than one for a quarterback or receiver.

Mouth and throat protection 

  • Fitted mouthguards are required in high school football.
  • Mouthguards are an easy, relatively inexpensive and effective way to help you prevent injuries to your teeth and mouth.

For more on this story, visit USA Today.

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Dan Guttenplan