Head and Face Protection: Helmets, Gum Shields, Mouth Guard, Nose Protectors, Goggles

Participating in sports requires adequate protection for the head and face as they can be injured or damaged if they are not protected properly, especially in contact sports, motor sports and those sports where impact/force to the head occurs. Given below are some devices used for protection.


Certain sports make the use of helmets mandatory such as motor sports, American football, ice hockey, cycling and equestrian (horse riding) events. These helmets are designed specifically to reduce the risk of serious injuries to the head which can cause serious health problems and even death. It is important to wear a proper fitting helmet which is designed for the particular sport. Some sports require only the head to be covered whereas some sports require a full facial helmet.

Gum Shields/Mouth Guard/Gum Guard

Gum shields are also known as gum guards or mouth guards. These are used specially in contact sports such as boxing and rugby and also field hockey.

The mouth guard should fit properly on the athlete so that they can breath and speak with ease. The aim of a gum shield is protecting the teeth and gums from forceful impacts which could cause significant damage.

Nose Protectors

Nose protectors, as the name itself suggests, are used to protect the nose or an injured nose. Nose guards are made of moulded plastic which conceals the nose and rests against the cheeks and forehead. It has a strap around the head to keep it in position.


Protective goggles are used in many sports to protect the eyes and the surrounding soft tissues and bone. Protective goggles are commonly used in racket sports such as squash and racquetball.

Goggles are also worn by swimmers. They help in protecting their eyes from the chemicals in the swimming pool or bacteria present in lakes, rivers and sea water. Goggles also enable the swimmers to see them more clearly underwater.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 19, 2019

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