Parts of a Football Uniform

By Jen Weir

As far as athletic gear goes, football players nearly top the list for the most amount of gear. All of this equipment is not gratuitous but rather quite necessary. From head to toe, players are covered in gear that protects them from the numerous hits they will sustain during a game.

Heads Up

One of the most important pieces of a football uniform is the helmet. This impressive piece of technology consists of specially molded plastic and shock-absorbent foam. Despite advances in helmet safety, head injuries are common in football. A face mask is attached to the helmet and protects the face while the chin strap secures the helmet onto your head. A mouth guard with a keeper strap is used to protect the teeth from impact and reduce concussions. The strap will keep the guard attached to your face mask so you don't lose it on the field.

Mid-section

The middle of the body is the easiest target for the opponent to hit and the shoulders are at the leading edge of contact when you tackle. Shoulder pads are the primary piece of protective equipment for the torso. Like the helmet, shoulder pads consist of thick, impact-absorbing foam covered in hard plastic. The football jersey, in team colors and each player's unique number, is worn over the shoulder pads.

Feet To Waist

A football uniform also enables you to protect your legs. Football pants generally come with pockets to insert pads. These pads should cover your hips, thighs, knees and tailbone. A nylon belt is worn around the waist to keep your pants from sagging down. On your feet you'll want to strap on a pair of football cleats. The cleats will allow you to get sufficient traction on the field.

Underneath It All

Under the rest of your uniform you should always wear an athletic supporter with a cup. Many players opt to wear a T-shirt -- long or short-sleeved, depending on the weather -- under the shoulder pads to prevent chafing. Long or short athletic socks should be worn to prevent blisters from your cleats.

A Few Extras

Aside from the basic football uniform, some players opt for additional gear. A visor can be added to your helmet for eye protection and a padded neck roll can be worn to reduce neck injuries. Some football players also choose to wear gloves, which come in padded and non-padded varieties depending on which position you play.

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