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A review of facial protective equipment use in sport and the impact on injury incidence.

Farrington, Timothy and Onambele-Pearson, Gladys and Taylor, Rebecca L. and Earl, Philip and Winwood, Keith L. (2011) A review of facial protective equipment use in sport and the impact on injury incidence. ISSN 0266-4356

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Abstract

Sporting activities have an inherent risk of facial injury from traumatic impacts from fellow competitors, projectiles, and collisions with posts or the ground. This retrospective review systematically describes the interplay between the type of sport (including the level at which specific sports are played), the sex of the players and their musculoskeletal characteristics, the technology behind the materials used, the protective devices commonly used, the anatomical site, and the regularity of incidence of fractures. We describe how variations in sporting activities induce different orofacial fracture patterns, and critically consider the methods used to test protective headgear against more contemporary techniques. Facial injuries can have a profound psychological effect on those injured, can take a long time to heal, and have been known to end promising careers. Use of properly fitted protective head or facial equipment could reduce the number of facial fractures commonly seen in sports. We recommend that individual sports should have full risk assessments, and that mandatory standards should be agreed about protective devices that would be appropriate.

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