- Shoulder pads
Shoulder pads are a piece of protective equipment used in American and
Canadian football. Most modern shoulder pads consist of a shock absorbing foam material with a hard plastic outer covering. The pieces are usually secured by rivets or strings that the user can tie to adjust the size.
A related piece of protective equipment is the rib protector. It attaches to the shoulder pads and wraps around the player's midsection. It is designed to protect the ribs, stomach, and back areas.
Properly fitting pads are critical. Shoulder pads are fitted to an adult football player by measuring across the player's back from shoulder blade to shoulder blade with a soft cloth measuring tape and then adding 1/2 inch. All points of the pads should be checked to assure proper fit. Maintenance during football season includes monthly checks and replacing worn parts.
Various styles exist for different positions played. Pads for a quarterback are lightweight and offer freedom of movement. Pads for linemen are designed with few flaps and epaulets, thus reducing the opportunity for being grabbed by the opposition. A player may have a preference for vinyl buckles or elastic straps.
Researchers at the University of Florida's College of Medicine have developed a way to air condition shoulder pads that is designed to regulate players' body temperatures during games and practices.
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