Demystifying Preventive Equipment in the Competitive Athlete


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Abstract

Sports-related injuries are rising as the interest and participation in sports rise. Recent epidemiologic study suggested that one in five injuries in individuals 18 years or younger reporting to the emergency department were found to be sports related. These injuries also were found to account for up to 19% of primary care injury-related visits. In this article, we will be reviewing the use of five different types of sports protective equipment (ankle support, knee support, mouthguards, eyeguards, and helmets) and the protection provided by each with level of current evidence. We found that the literature supports the use of ankle braces and mouthguards in athletes. The use of knee braces and eye protection in some athletes is indicated. Helmets to prevent head injuries are supported, but it is uncertain if that extends to concussion prevention. Soccer headgear is not supported and needs randomized control studies to show benefit.

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