Safety equipment is essential for all contact sports. Wrestling makes no exception as it can be pretty brutal and wearing protective equipment is fundamental.
Headgear doesn’t belong only to wrestling. Martial arts also require wearing headgear which is why it became more and more complex and capable.
How does it work?
Unlike other headgear used in contact sports, wrestling headgear is designed for protecting only the ears and the chin. They’re the most exposed parts of the head during a wrestling match. Wearing wrestling headgear may be mandatory in some competitions.
Wrestling headgear typically features padding for ensuring comfort and absorbing the impact of the strikes a lot better.
Wearing wrestling headgear doesn’t mean cheating; it says that you’re cautious and take care of you and your competitor.
What are the problems associated with wrestling?
Wrestling headgear protects the ears with the ear guards and the chin with the cup. If you still sit on the fence about wearing wrestling headgear or not, you should be aware of the typical injuries linked to wrestling.
Here are the most common injuries when wrestling:
- Cauliflower ear
The cauliflower ear is just as bad as it sounds. It’s a condition caused by trauma to the ear during wrestling. The listener gets inflamed and develops a pocket of blood (hematoma). The deformity of one’s ear gets really noticeable. In all fairness, it does look like cauliflower at times.
- Facial fractures
Truth be told, it’s impossible to reduce to zero the risk for bone-related injuries in contact sports or any that implies some physical effort. The first hours of suffering from a fracture are fundamental as one should hold the bones together until the medical help arrives.
In the case of wrestling, the headgear is going to help the wrestler holding it together until help comes to the rescue. The headgear is also going to reduce the effects of the fracture whenever an opponent is going to land a strike.
- Chin injury
Gone are the days when wrestlers had to endure injuries in the chine. As the chin is pretty vulnerable, it’s rather easy to strike at it.
Wrestlers really need to protect their chin as it’s the first thing they get hit at. Back in the day, wrestlers would quit due to a chin injury.
- General injuries
Many ways lead to an injury while wrestling, especially in the case of the limbs. Dislocations of the shoulders snapped/sprained joints-and so many other things happen a lot during a wrestling match.
In order to prevent extensive injuries, there are other pieces of equipment that a wrestler should use. You may want to take another look before going too deep into the sport.
How to buy wrestling headgear?
Wrestling headgear is going to protect the wrestler, especially in the ring/on the mats. Wrestling is a challenging contact sport where you need to take down your opponent. Wearing headgear isn’t enough. You need to pick it right so that it’s both protective and comfortable, improving your performance too.
The variety of wrestling headgear may be overwhelming, especially if you’re an entry level wrestler. You should go online, read the reviews, ask the experts or a wrestler friend for getting an idea.
Size, materials, level of comfort, price- they all count when making the final decision.
How to measure the wrestling headgear?
Wrestling headgear comes in two sizes: youth and adult. Aside from the regular sizes, every piece is kind of “one size fits all” as it’s adjustable. You can find the right fit by loosening/tightening the straps on the back and the top of the head. Necessarily, you don’t have to worry that much about the size on the label. Securing it to your head for preventing sliding or moving around is the most crucial aspect to keep in mind.
If you find that sizing is important, you should have a try in a local sporting goods store. Have someone measure the circumference of your head, going 1 inch above your eyebrows. For instance, a 23in around is Medium size. In order to identify your size, you should check the size chart of the manufacturer.
Knowing your circumference is going to help you make an idea about which size to get. Adjusting the straps the right way is going to make the difference, ensuring your safety and protection while wrestling.
What other things count when choosing the wrestling headgear?
Even though size matters, there are other things to take into consideration when choosing your wrestling headgear:
There are many various materials used for the “shell” of the headgear (that is the outer portion of the headgear protecting the ears). Every kind of material works for various things and every design is going to accomplish the specific needs of the wrestler.
Here are the main options for the headgear material:
- Softshell- it’s typically made from a polymer or any other soft rubber/cloth-like material. It’s an excellent choice for the young wrestler as the material feels really comfortable. It doesn’t cause any pain to the opponent either.
- Hardshell- it’s lighter than other sorts of headgear. The outer shell is made from long-lasting and robust plastic. Most of the time, it comes with an opening that allows better hearing. The main downside for this one is that most major international freestyle and Greco-Roman competitions don’t allow them.
Wrestling headgear typically features 3-5 straps that link both shells so that they protect the ears. The rule of thumb is the more straps it has, the better the protection is going to be.
Even if some models may prove wrong, most of the three straps headgear isn’t able to stay in place as well as a 4 or 5 strap model.
When a headgear comes with more than three straps, he/she is going to be capable of adjusting it better. Securing the straps is going to ensure that perfect fit and security you want in a headgear. It’s fundamental for the headgear to work in the first place.
Even if wrestling headgear is made for preventing injuries, it may also rub against the ears when it’s loose. Once it’s loose, it may very well lead to cauliflower ear or another type of head and ear injuries.
One last piece of advice
Don’t forget to take a look at the chin strap as well. It goes across or underneath the wrestler’s chin for keeping the headgear in place. “chin cups” have become quite popular lately.
Many wrestlers find chin cups more comfortable as they may secure the cups to the chin and not under the chin, which relieves the pressure off the throat.