Wearing protective sports gear

No matter the sport, there are pieces of protective gear that players should wear to keep them as safe as possible.

Playing sports is a popular activity for American children: about 30 million of them participate in organized sports each year.1 It's also a great way for your child to stay fit and healthy. However, increased physical activity also means a greater risk of getting hurt. More than 3.5 million sports-related injuries in children under age 15 are treated every year.2 High school athletes alone account for an estimated two million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits, and 30,000 hospitalizations annually.3

One basic precaution kids can take when engaged in school sports activities is to wear appropriate protective gear. Below is a list of common safety equipment, what they protect, and tips regarding their proper use.

For a list of sport-specific safety information.


1. Children's Hospital Boston: Sports injury statistics. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site1112/mainpageS1112P0.html. Accessed August 20, 2008

2. American Academy of Orthopeadeic Surgeons: A guide to safety for young athletes. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00307&return_link=0. Accessed August 20, 2008

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Sports-Related Injuries Among High School Athletes-United States, 2005-06 School Year. MMWR 2006;38:1037

4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Nonfatal Traumatic Brain Injuries from Sports and Recreation Activities-United States, 2001-2005. MMWR 2007:29;733

5. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: Childhood sports injuries and their prevention: A guide for parents with ideas for kids. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Sports_Injuries/child_sports_injuries.pdf. Accessed August 20, 2008

6. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center: Children should rely on safety equipment to prevent school sports injuries. Available at: http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/about/news/release/2007/8-school-sports-injuries.htm. Accessed August 20, 2008

7. Kid's Health for Parents, Nemours Foundation: AAP offers advice for kids' sports safety. Available at: http://www.kidshealth.org/research/aap_overuse.html. Accessed August 20, 2008