Note from the Editor: From time to time we here at purpleTERRITORY Media (that’s purplePTSD.com/purpleTERRITORYradio.com/VikingsTerritory.com) like to focus on things around the state of Minnesota. From events in the community that we either throw or cover, to local sporting events, we’re proud that we’re a real local entity (unlike some of our competition, *Cough Sound that started as a joke but turned into a super troubling actual Cough*). With that in mind and our marketing analyses showing that a lot of you either play or have children that play the game, here’s the ultimate gear checklist for that football player in your life!
It’s the fall season, and you know what that means? Football. It’s time to get pumped for the number one sport in America. People of all ages flock to train, watch, cheer, and be a part of this great American sporting culture. But are you sure that you’ve got everything in check? One thing that football has that other sports don’t, is a bunch of big and heavy gear. But when you’ve got the winning urge on the line, you can only accept the best, right?
Here’s the ultimate checklist to make sure you’ve got everything you need for a winning season.
First thing’s first: where are your cleats?
Cleats spell the difference between sliding on that grass and staying planted in the formation. You’ve got to be low to the ground and ready to move. You can’t risk injury by not having each and every step completely and firmly in the dirt. Even when you cut up the field with your fancy footwork, your ability to change direction is heavily reliant on knowing where your base is at all times.
So don’t get just any old cleats. Go to a reputable website and find out what’s best. There are a few online outlets that have everything you need. The recommendations on GameDayr are some of the products that are not just comfortable, but durable as well. With a good source of gear, you can’t go wrong. You can’t expect to perform well in some used, off-balance pair off of Craigslist. This is a primary investment.
Next up is shoulder pads. Shoulder pads are the primary distinguishing feature of American Football over rugby. It’s the protection for your shoulders and upper thorax that keeps you going through the brutal intensity. Having those areas covered means you can keep going. Don’t take it for granted as anyone who has had the wind knocked out of them will attest.
There’s (rightfully) been a lot of focus on the number of concussions or near concussions that football players can accrue over the years. However, there are also a lot of shoulder/torso injuries as well that may not have as big of a negative effect over the long run but can definitely begin to add up during the season. So, use the resources above to search for the best shoulder pads in the business (we definitely recommend reading user reviews as well).
Newsflash: You can’t play without a helmet. A standard Riddell helmet should be enough to withstand training and game day. It’s worked for everyone else before you, right?
But being aware of the new technology is also an asset in this game. Riddell is coming out with Crash Cloud technology helmets that promise to increase the safety of the player and minimize the subconcussive trauma we all wish to avoid.
That’s HUGE, since obviously CTE is something that everyone wants to avoid and that helmet companies like Riddell have invested millions of dollars to help alleviate.
Your pants better have thigh and knee pads. It’s further protection against scrapes and other potential injuries on the field. They’re not an absolute necessity, but you put yourself at a much greater advantage with them. You can confidently rush, juke, and sprint down, knowing that your legs are going to be fine.
The key is to find the right protection to weight ratio. You want to be as light-weight as possible with the most protection possible. Especially considering the new ways that players are being coached to tackle. The safe regions are below the head and above the knees, which leads to a lot of helmet to upper-thigh (and torso) region(s). That makes finding the right pair of pants more important today than ever before.
Do you know where your mouthguard is?
Nobody knows where their mouthguard is. They’re like keys. They’re the most lost items in sports. You need to have a special pocket with a special case for the mouthguard. Boil it for a few minutes and fit it to your mouth to make sure it doesn’t fall out while you’re playing. And for goodness sake, please wash it after you use it. We all know the guy who puts his mouthpiece directly into the case and probably never washes it. That’s disgusting and you’re risking illness. Being ill means missed practice, and we can’t have that.
Mouthguards might not seem like they’re that important in a game like football (at least as opposed to hockey, where the stereotype is a player that’s missing their teeth from taking a slap shot or five in the face). However, mouthguards can help protect you from concussions as well, as your mouth/head is cushioned internally either when you are tackled or when your head hits the ground during a tackle. Consider it like car shocks for your head.
There you have it. Your ultimate guide to football gear. The list can go on and on when it comes to accessories. But these are the bare necessities. These are what you need to play. Be sure to have them with you at all times this season.