Face Masks In Professional Sports Analysis

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In May, 2014, fifteen-year-old Kat Morris had just seconds to react after pitching the ball to her opponent in a high school softball game. After being told by college softball coaches that wearing a face mask made her appear scared and would hinder her ability to be recruited, Morris chose to not wear her face mask onto the field. After blacking out and being sent to the hospital, it was made apparent that Morris suffered from a crushed orbital floor and four other bone fractures around her eye. In order to support her eye from drooping, she underwent surgery to place a plate. After recovery, she was unable to play any sports for at least three months, was required to wear a face mask for six months, and still has regularly scheduled check-ups…show more content…
According to Nowjack-Raymer and Gift (1996), over 14 million children in the United States participate in the following sports: Baseball/Softball, Soccer, Football, Karate/Judo, Wrestling, Field/Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Boxing and Rugby. Among these sports, softball and baseball are the most popular. In both of these sports, many leagues only require certain positions on the field to utilize precautionary equipment, such as catchers and batters, thus only 40% of male and 25% of female participants wear protective measures. Furthermore, the second most popular sport is soccer; only 4% of soccer players wear headgear and only 7% wear mouth guards. It is proven that the variety of protective measures available to athletes is disproportional to the usage of those measures. Miller et al (2006) found that “mouth guard comfort, enforcement of the device, esthetics, and the mental perception of how a mouth guard affect an athletes’ image” all affect the decision of many athletes, in this case ice hockey players, to forgo wearing a mouth…show more content…
Similar to fifteen-year-old Kat Morris, many athletes feel that a mouth guard or face mask would make them appear weak, thus affecting their future in the sport at a collegiate or professional level. Miller et al found that 74% of a sample of ice hockey players would feel comfortable playing without a mouth guard, thus entailing their view of mouth guards as unnecessary. Overall, these athletes indicated a negative attitude towards the use of a mouth guard. While Miller et al claimed that a proper education on the importance of mouth guards or other protective gear would increase use, in 2002, only 43% of collegiate coaches enforced the use of mouth guards, although it is a NCAA requirement. Education and enforcement of mouth guard usage is significantly higher in the high school setting than in the college setting. 31% of the participants in this study believed a mouth guard would inhibit their ability to perform well; a larger amount claimed a mouth guard would interrupt their ability to breath and communicate in a game

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