Shoulder pads

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This article is about protective equipment. For shoulder pads in fashion, see Shoulder pads (fashion).
1906 photograph of early American football uniform with rudimentary shoulder pads worn by Bradbury Robinson, who threw the first legal forward pass
American football shoulder pads.
Football shoulder pads

Shoulder pads are a piece of protective equipment used in many contact sports such as American football, Canadian football, lacrosse and hockey. 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. Allegedly Pop Warner first had his players wear them.[1]

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 tape measure and then adding 12 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 of shoulder pads 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 of 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.

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.


See also[edit]