Perhaps you are a parent with child playing football this season for the first time or perhaps this isn’t your first trip around that block. Either way, I think it is important to familiarize yourself with what various types of equipment are out there and what the individual pieces are actually for.
Youth football equipment can be separated into three areas: Head protection (helmet, mouth guard, chinstrap, face mask, etc.), Body protection (shoulder pads, neck rolls, rib pads, elbow pads, gloves, etc.), and Leg protection (pants, thigh pads, hip pads, cup, cleats, knee pads, butt pad, etc.).
Football is a sport in which we expect big hits, and therefor expect injuries to eventually occur. You might be surprised the amount of injuries relative to other non-contact sports, simply because in football every child has proper equipment to protect themselves from a collision, however in baseball, for example, two outfielders running into one another trying to catch the same ball have no equipment to protect them.
Over the years, innovations have been made to Youth football equipment to increase the protection and safety they offer. As parents, we want to take advantage of this without being taken advantage of with the high prices. For example, you can go to Walmart and buy a mouthpiece for around $ 0.99, or you can go to your dentist and have him custom make one for $ 200-$ 400. I can’t say what is best for each person reading this article because i don’t know your financial situation, but i can pretty much guess that most people fall somewhere in between.
For around $ 10 you can find a very comfortable “gel” mouthpiece, in various colors, with or without a strap that will serve your child well for the entire year (assuming it doesn’t get lost before the end of the season, and this is where the $ 0.99 Walmart one will come into play). If your Child has braces, you can find a similar model for around $ 15-20. This price is low enough that you can toss it in the trash at the end of the season, but not such low quality that you might regret saving a few bucks when a knee comes in contact with your child’s chin.
I could go through every piece of equipment in my list above and offer the same analysis, but suffice it to say that for just about every option, there is a “too cheap” model and a “too expensive” model. As parents we just want to find that sweet spot where we get the most protection for our money spent.