Boxing is a full-contact sport with a high risk of brain damage due to repeated impacts on the noggin. Boxers must take all necessary steps to prevent such severe injuries from developing. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done, especially for professional boxers who do not use headgear for boxing match. Still, taking safety precautions whenever possible, such as in training, is crucial to prolong a boxer’s career and avoid long-term brain damage and concussion.
Boxing Headgear 101
Blows directed to the head is expected in a boxing match, even in a sparring session. In a worst-case scenario, blows to the face can lead to fractures and concussions to the recipient. This is also true in some sparring sessions. Wearing headgear can help mitigate the force of impact and lower the risk of injuries.
Blows to the head can, for lack of a better term, scramble the brain within the skull. Such impacts can cause damage to the brain tissue and might even rupture blood vessels that can cause even more severe injuries.
While the headgear can help reduce such risks, it is still not full-proof protection to the head. It is still quite common for a boxer to get knocked out with a well-placed hit to the jaw or the temple. The boxing headgear is not designed to thoroughly dampen any blows to the head as that pretty much invalidates using it during amateur competitions.
Boxing headgears have a particular design which is meant to protect the cheekbones, forehead, and temple. It is secured using a chinstrap and has a T-shaped opening for the eyes, nose, and mouth. One characteristic of a proper headgear is that it sticks to the head and does not slip.
Nowadays, amateur boxing competitions does not mandate the use of headgear as it has become a favorite target of competitors. In most cases, wearing a boxing headgear during amateur bouts has shown that both boxers clocked in more headshots compared to matches that do not require the use of headgear.
As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages to wearing headgear in boxing. Overall, we still recommend wearing one during sparring matches to lower the risk of any unnecessary injuries before your competition.
Benefits of Wearing Boxing Headgear
Headgears Can Reduce Risk of Injury Before Your Match
It goes without saying that boxing is a sport that is littered with injuries. For professional boxers, being able to compete at 100% in their match is imperative. Of course, as any pro boxer will tell you, the training camp is a whole other ball game that requires complete dedication, focus, and sacrifice. Thus, injuries are more common than you think during this period before the big match.
This is why headgears are imperative for pro boxers during training. For example, cuts around the eyes are one of the easiest and most common injuries a boxer can sustain. A cut before the competition places the boxer at a massive disadvantage from the get-go. It’s as if getting inside the ring with a giant target on your face. It goes without saying that getting injured before a match is a huge detriment to a boxer’s chance of winning or prolonging their career.
Headgears Can Lower the Risk Sustaining Facial Damage or Trauma
Similar to the above example, headgears can help prevent cuts, swelling, and other cosmetic injuries. Such injuries are best avoided as scarring is a highly probable result in the long run. Also, continuous facial trauma will have long-lasting effects that can lead to permanent damage to one’s facial features.
Broken bones are also some of the injuries that you can avoid when wearing a boxing headgear. Some of the most common bone breaks in boxing all revolve around the head – from broken orbital bone, nose, and jaw. As someone who had a broken nose from boxing, I can attest that it is not a fun experience to go through. Boxers and martial artists will significantly appreciate the protection that headgears can offer and its ability to prevent such injuries from being sustained.
Headgear Can Help Protect Your Head When You Are Knocked Out
Getting knocked out with a well-placed blow to the head will have you dropping like a ton of bricks down towards the ground. As most boxers will tell you, while that initial knockout blow is quite dangerous in itself – falling headfirst, full speed ahead to the hard-unforgiving canvas can very well be the nail to the proverbial coffin.
That extra padding between your head and the canvas floor can be the difference-maker that prevents a boxer from getting a severe concussion. Avoiding that nightmare scenario is another reason why you should consider wearing headgear when stepping into a boxing ring.
Types of Boxing Headgear
There are several variations of the boxing headgear available. Understanding the pros and cons of each will help you find the most suitable version for your personal needs.
You have probably quite familiar with this headgear type as it is often used during amateur boxing competitions. The open-face style headgear excels in giving the boxer full mobility while also protecting their face from cuts and the occasional headbutts. It typically features a tight opening for the face, which means your forehead, brows, ears, and cheeks are well protected. However, the nose and mouth/chin are not as protected.
This headgear variation provides complete protection to the face with its horizontal opening design. The face-saver, or face-bar, headgear is perfect for protecting the boxer from getting facial damage like cuts and will even prevent getting a broken nose. This type of headgear is ideal for high-intensity sparring sessions, wherein both fighters are allowed to throw haymakers and go all-out at each other.
Hybrid headgears are quite popular in the sport as it brings the best of both worlds in regards to headgears – the mobility of open-face headgears and the excellent protection provided by the face-saver headgear. If you are going to be using one type of headgear, we highly recommend you go for the hybrid headgear for maximum comfort and protection.