Did you know that playing tennis with a badly strong racket and wearing worn out shoes can increase your risk of injury as much as playing football without shoulder pads? (see page Football Origins) Using the wrong or not properly fitted equipment is a major cause of injuries.
Helmets are the key. The equipment you wear while participating in sports is key to preventing injuries. The first and foremost is helmets and they are important for sports such as football, hockey, baseball, softball, biking, skateboarding, in-line skating and skiing and snowboarding just to name a few. Always wear a helmet made for the sport. Make sure it meets the safety standard for that particular sport. Any helmet should fit snugly but comfortably on your head.
Eye protection is also a must for many sports (see more about Protection). The most protective eye gear is made from a plastic called polycarbonate and has been tested especially for sports use. Facemasks or polycarbonate guards or shields that attached a helmet are worn in sports such as football, ice hockey, and softball and baseball when batting. Goggles are often worn for soccer, basketball, racquets sports, snowboarding, street hockey, and baseball and softball when fielding. If you wear glasses you will need prescription polycarbonate goggles, don't just wear your regular glasses when you're on the court or field. All I protection should fit securely and have cushions above your eyebrows and over your nose.
Mouth guards can protect your mouth, teeth and tongue. You should wear a mouth guard if you play a contact sport or other sport were head injury is a risk, such as football, basketball, hockey, volleyball, martial arts, boxing or wrestling. Mouth guards can be fitted by your dentist or purchased at sports stores. If you wear a retainer, always take it out before you start to exercise, practice or play.
Wrist, knee, and elbow guards are important gear also. If you in-line skate, skateboard or ride a scooter, you should wear guards. Elbow and wrist guards can prevent arm and wrist fractures, and knee guards can shield your knees from cuts and breaks. If you play certain sports especially contact sports pads are essential. Sports from hockey to in-line skating use pads. There are knee, elbow, wrist, chest, shoulder, hip, and thigh pads. Men may also need to wear protective cup. Guys who play hockey, football, basketball, baseball, soccer and other contact sports should use a cup. For noncontact sports that involve running, guys should wear an athletic supporter.
Last but not least the right footwear can keep you from tripping and falling. Sports like football, baseball, softball and soccer require cleats. But sports like skateboarding and biking need special types of shoes to. Make sure you have the right size and the right fit (see more about Selecting Athletic Shoes).
The bottom line is that wearing the right equipment with the right fit will greatly lower your risk of getting hurt.