Association football headgear
Association football headgear is worn by association football players to protect the head from injury
-By cause:*Traumatic injury, a body wound or shock produced by sudden physical injury, as from violence or accident*Other injuries from external physical causes, such as radiation injury, burn injury or frostbite*Injury from infection...

. The headgear is designed to absorb the impact of blows to the head by external physical forces in order to reduce the chance of a concussion, a noteworthy example in international football being Czech goalkeeper Petr Čech
Petr Cech
Petr Čech is a Czech footballer who plays for Chelsea and the Czech Republic as a goalkeeper. Čech previously played for Viktoria Plzeň, Chmel Blšany, Sparta Prague, and Rennes. He was voted into the all-star team of Euro 2004 after helping his country reach the semi-finals...

 from Chelsea
Chelsea F.C.
Chelsea Football Club are an English football club based in West London. Founded in 1905, they play in the Premier League and have spent most of their history in the top tier of English football. Chelsea have been English champions four times, FA Cup winners six times and League Cup winners four...

. These collisions can occur from head to head, head to ground, head to goal post, or head to body extremity contact. It is flexible, not a rigid helmet
A helmet is a form of protective gear worn on the head to protect it from injuries.Ceremonial or symbolic helmets without protective function are sometimes used. The oldest known use of helmets was by Assyrian soldiers in 900BC, who wore thick leather or bronze helmets to protect the head from...


Function and structure

Since "soccer is one of a few sports in which the head is intentionally and frequently used to strike the ball", a uniquely designed form headgear was created. A plastic helmet
A helmet is a form of protective gear worn on the head to protect it from injuries.Ceremonial or symbolic helmets without protective function are sometimes used. The oldest known use of helmets was by Assyrian soldiers in 900BC, who wore thick leather or bronze helmets to protect the head from...

 as in other sports would not suffice since they are bulky and may consist of uneven surfaces; this would make ball control off a header nearly impossible. Most soccer headgear is made from foam
-Definition:A foam is a substance that is formed by trapping gas in a liquid or solid in a divided form, i.e. by forming gas regions inside liquid regions, leading to different kinds of dispersed media...

 that will cushion the head from the full force of the impact. The softness of the foam will increase the time of impact and lessen the blow without altering the direction and distance of the ball as it rebounds off the head.

Types of headgear

ASTM International
ASTM International
ASTM International, known until 2001 as the American Society for Testing and Materials , is an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services...

 (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials) set a product performance standard for headgear in soccer in 2006. This standard does not address head to ball contact, solely head to hard surface contact. There are currently two headguards that meet the ASTM soccer headgear standard, the DonJoy Hat Trick and the Full90 Sports Premier-A. Both comply with FIFA
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association , commonly known by the acronym FIFA , is the international governing body of :association football, futsal and beach football. Its headquarters are located in Zurich, Switzerland, and its president is Sepp Blatter, who is in his fourth...

, the U.S. Soccer Federation, and the National Federation of State High School Associations
National Federation of State High School Associations
The National Federation of State High School Associations is the body that writes the rules of competition for most high school sports and activities in the United States. Most high schools, whether public or private, belong to their state's high school association; in turn, each state association...


DonJoy Hat Trick

The DonJoy Hat Trick is composed of a Lycra outer fabric layer to conform to the head as well as an inner liner Coolmax
Coolmax is a trademark and a brand name for a series of moisture-wicking technical fabrics developed in 1986 by DuPont Textiles and Interiors...

 fabric to increase moisture evaporation, keeping the head cool. Impact-absorbing foam covers the forehead and temple areas. It has four adjustable straps around the occipital lobe
Occipital lobe
The occipital lobe is the visual processing center of the mammalian brain containing most of the anatomical region of the visual cortex. The primary visual cortex is Brodmann area 17, commonly called V1...

 region of the head. (Link with image)

Full90 Sports Premier

The Full90 Sports Premier uses ForceBloc foam to cover the forehead and occipital regions. It utilizes the Coolmax system to reduce moisture build-up. An X-band design is used with cross-straps to fasten the headguard through lightweight technology. (Link with images)

Head Blast Soccer Band

The Head Blast (tm) Soccer Band is a layered band composed of a moisture wicking first layer followed by force attenuating foam, plastic, more force-attenuating foam, a team logo layer, and very clear plastic outer layer. It is very comfortable and well liked by the players.
(link with images)

Other brands

Other available headgear products include Kangaroo Soccer Headgear, Headers, and Protector.

Headgear studies

Injury to the head can occur from repeatedly making contact with the ball through headers or from a single blow. The danger of this trauma is especially significant to children because their bodies are not fully developed and may not be able to counteract a blow to the head. Minor trauma similar to pugilistic dementia may occur from repetitively heading the ball. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that headgear does not help reduce the impact on the head from ball contact. This is because a human head is stiffer than the soccer ball. On impact, the ball will deform more than the head. However, studies in 2006 by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Pennsylvania found no link between brain injuries and routinely heading the ball. Because of this, the aim of wearing headgear turned to mitigating damage from accidental head on head collisions between players on the pitch
Association football pitch
An association football pitch is the playing surface for the game of association football made of turf. Its dimensions and markings are defined by Law 1 of the Laws of the Game, "The Field of Play".All line markings on the pitch form part of the area which they define...

. It was found that there is an overall 33% reduction of impact force on the head from head to head impacts when headgear is used. The U.S. Soccer Federation
United States Soccer Federation
The United States Soccer Federation is the official governing body of the sport of soccer in the United States. Its headquarters are located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a member of FIFA and is responsible for governing amateur and professional soccer, including the men's, women's, youth, futsal...

sees that protective headgear in soccer can provide measurable benefit in head to head contact, and permits players to wear headgear at their own discretion until more conclusive evidence is obtained.
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