Football Equipment Fitting

  • Inspect all equipment before issuing to an athlete
  • Equipment should be checked daily for damaged parts, fit and wear and tear
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for fitting equipment

Helmet Fitting

Before you begin fitting be sure that

  • All helmets must have a current NOCSAE certification stamp and warning label

Fitting the football helmet:

  1. Create practice/game situation (damp/wet hair, hair length/style)
  2. Measure head 1 inch above brow and on occipital lobe
    • Measure circumferences using cloth tape
    • Measure head width using head calipers if available
  3. Select helmet size and style
    • Adjust helmet height: front 1 finger width above brow
    • Adjust the chin strap
    • Check Pads: neck, front, back, sides, and cheek pads
    • Select appropriate facemask: should be 2-3 finger widths from the end of the nose
  4. Check fit:
    • Crown check: press down on top of helmet, athlete should feel pressure “on top” or “all over” not in the front or back
    • Lateral movement: grab sides of helmet and move side to side, cheek pads should not slide and skin on forehead should move with helmet
    • Vertical movement: grab sides of helmet and move up and down, helmet should not slide down onto nose
    • Ask the athlete if the helmet is firm yet comfortable

Shoulder Pad Fitting

  1. Athlete should wear only a t-shirt
  2. Measure shoulder width (AC joint to AC joint across back) and/or chest size (around chest at nipple level)
  3. Determine player position and select appropriate pad size and style
  4. Try pads on. Secure all laces, belts and straps
  5. Check fit from front, side, and back
    • Should cover AC joint and extend ½ inch over the deltoid
    • Check for coverage of chest and back
    • Collar should be ½ inch from neck and not pinch when arms are raised overhead
    • Should cover clavicle
    • Arches should meet evenly and not overlap in both the front and back
  6. Perform functional movements: arms overhead, three-point stance, etc.

Other Pads

  1. Hip pad should cover greater trochanter and iliac crest
  2. Make sure hip, thigh, knee, and tail pads are worn and in the proper position

****Jersey worn properly with sleeves down is an important part of functional shoulder pad****

Consult your primary care physician for more serious injuries that do not respond to basic first aid. As an added resource, the staff at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Sports Medicine is available to diagnose and treat sports-related injuries in youth, adolescent, and collegiate athletes. Services are available in multiple locations throughout central Ohio. To make an appointment, call (614) 355-6000 or request an appointment online.

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