Players did not wear helmets in the early days of American football. The college football rules convention agreed in 1888 to permit tackling below the waist. Pads were quickly adopted by players and coaches as an integral part of the game. Helmets, on the other hand, were the last thing to be allowed, as they were in the National Hockey League in the 1970s. They were finally legalized in 1987.
The first player's helmet was a tin cup with a mouthpiece. It had no face mask and it was worn under the chin strap of the player's uniform. This type of helmet was used until about 1910, when the leather helmet became popular. These were open-faced helmets that did not cover the whole head. Leather helmets were used through the 1920s but were eventually replaced by fiberglass and plastic models which are used today.
Football is one of the only major sports that does not use protective equipment for its players. Other sports such as baseball and basketball have long ago adopted this practice. In fact, there is evidence that suggests that athletes in ancient Greece played the game with their heads unprotected. As far back as 1793, English athletes were wearing some form of protective gear including pads under their shirts to protect against ball hits. However, it was not until much later that the idea of a helmet for football players came about. The first model was developed by William L. McKnight of St. Louis and was called the "McKnight Helmet".
During the 1920s, helmets were commonly worn in football. These helmets were made of leather and had some cushioning on the inside, but they offered little protection. Wearing a helmet was not required by law at this time.
In 1930, the American Medical Association issued a report recommending that protective equipment (including helmets) be used in all forms of football. The report also suggested that college football players be allowed to wear shoulder pads under their jerseys. The idea was rejected by many colleges, but it set a precedent for protective equipment being used in sports where injury was common.
By 1940, almost every college football player wore a helmet. By 1960, nearly all players wore some type of padding on their uniforms.
Today, college football players are required by NCAA rule to wear helmets. They can't play unless they do so. A defensive player who does not cover his face when he tackles without the intent of injuring the quarterback is penalized 15 yards from goal line. The penalty will get increased to 25 yards if the act is repeated again within the same game. If a player fails to wear proper protective gear, he may be disqualified at the discretion of the referee. However, since most players now comply with this requirement, it has become more of a social stigma than an actual danger to health.
1979 It wasn't until the death of Bill Masterton in 1968 that NHL players were more sympathetic to the concept of wearing helmets. It took the National Hockey League until 1979 to make helmets obligatory for new players. Veteran players might still choose whether or not to wear one.
The original reason given by the NHL for requiring new players to wear helmets was that it would "protect them from incidental contact with other players, boards, and nets that can cause serious injury." The league also said it wanted to "ensure that everyone plays fair" by reducing the advantage that experienced players had over novices. In fact, the only real benefit cited by the NHL for requiring helmets was that it made the game look better on television.
There have been many studies done on the effects of body protection in sports. One study conducted by Dr. Jeffrey Samuelson of the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Western Ontario found that "players who wore head protection during ice hockey games scored more goals than those who didn't." The study also concluded that "there is strong evidence to support the use of protective gear by hockey players."
In January 1996, the NHL banned all players not already on a team's roster from going onto the ice during injuries and suspending play. The aim was to reduce the number of injuries occurring in fights between players looking for someone to hit.
Helmets were mandatory in the NFL by the mid-1940s. They were still made of leather, but because to better production processes, they had taken on their more recognized spherical shape. The NFL initially permitted either plastic or leather helmets, but in 1948 it barred the plastic helmet, citing the hard-plastic substance as a safety hazard. The leather helmet has undergone many changes over the years.
In the early days of the NFL, players mainly wore headbands under their helmets to protect themselves from injuries caused by high tackles. But as football evolved, so did the need for protection against other forms of injury. By the 1940s, most players were wearing face masks to prevent brain injuries caused by impacts with other players' bodies and equipment. By the 1950s, nearly all players wore some form of eye protection. Guarding against injuries caused by the ball was also important, so players began wearing shoulder pads in the 1930s. By the late 1940s, almost all linemen were wearing elbow pads and chest protectors.
After the plastic helmet was banned, most players still wore leather helmets, but some started wearing fiberglass ones instead. These are now common among younger players as well as coaches and staff members.
Leather helmets are widely used throughout sports medicine due to their ability to absorb impact and reduce the risk of injury. However, they can be hot during games so many players now use head covers to keep cool while protecting against injury.
Plastic helmets were the primary form of protection during the 1940s. In 1943, the NFL also mandated that all players wear football helmets, which prompted the creation of helmet logos. When the Los Angeles Rams affixed the famous horns on their helmets, they pioneered this idea.
While playing American and Canadian football, both professionals and amateurs use protective head gear (helmets) to limit the risk of damage (also known as gridiron football). The football helmet has evolved through time, and a variety of materials are now available. The regulations of the game have also altered.
Despite the fact that collegiate hockey teams have existed since 1896, the NCAA did not become involved until the 1947-48 season, despite the organization's founding in 1910. In the early days of collegiate hockey, players, like the pros, did not wear helmets. They were not required by law until the 1947-48 season.
In an effort to protect players from injury, coaches and managers are now required by law to ensure athletes receive proper training and equipment before they enter any game or practice.
Coaches are also required to monitor their athletes' performances during games and practice and stop the action if a player shows signs of injury. If a player does not have the proper protective gear, the coach should encourage him/her to seek out what is needed and make sure it is being used correctly.
College hockey players benefit from having their names added to the honor roll each year after the season ends. The National College Hockey Hall of Fame in Lake Placid, New York features people who have excelled in any number of ways while playing Division I ice hockey. There is no requirement for anyone to be on the list, but it is very popular among fans and players alike.
The first player honored with a statue outside Evergreen Ice Arena was Ted Kennedy. He was presented with the sculpture in 1990 after finishing his career as the all-time leading scorer at Boston University.