Wrestling headgear is a vital component to a wrestler’s “equipment list”. It is required in both High School and College wrestling programs in the United States. In Canada, however Wrestling headgear is compulsory. Wrestling is a unique sport, unlike football or hockey, the participants do not wear shoulder pad or helmets to prevent them from injury. When a wrestler takes to the mat, he or she has very little to protect them other than their headgear and their wrestling skill. Wrestlers bear consistent stress and beating about the head or more specifically the ears. Its not really the head that is being protected by wrestling headgear, like the name implies. The main purpose of wrestling headgear is to protect the ears of the wrestler, sometimes this protective gear is referred to as ear guards or ear protectors. The headgear covers the wrestler’s ear, and has two straps that go behind the head, two that go over the front and top part of the head, and chin strap or chin cup. Headgear is typically made from durable plastic, with sturdy cushions with Velcro fasteners or adjustable metal snaps.
Olympic Gold Medalist Jordan Burroughs, on his blog “Top Ten http://www.jordanburroughs.com/blog/top-10-rules-to-wrestling-swag describes the “rules to wearing wrestling headgear. “First, you make sure it fits. There is nothing that says swagless more than a droopy headgear that keeps falling down your face during the match and requires constant adjusting. They’re adjustable, no excuses. The straps in the front of the headgear have to be crossed, and the finishing touch is a chinstrap. Swag.” How many times have you seen a match where the wrestlers are constantly adjusting their headgear? It is essential for the headgear to fit snugly otherwise it can be a fatal distraction.
Wrestling headgear is created to safeguard the wrestler’s ear from long term damage. The blood vessels in their ears can burst from the all the abuse they get on the mat. There isn’t any external bleeding, but it can be very painful. Blood seeps into the ear and the cartilage separates from the skin, filling the area in between with blood. Eventually the blood hardens, and the cartilage deteriorates. The ear becomes hard and permanently disfigured. Cauliflower Ear. This condition can only be repaired or treated by a plastic surgeon. Most of us know that Cauliflower, or Brassica oleracea is a healthy vegetable choice in our diets, yet Cauliflower Ear is not at all desirable.
The importance of wearing properly fitting headgear cannot be exaggerated. There are many styles available on the internet or at sporting goods stores. Find a model you like, that is comfortable and snug, from a reputable sports source. Above all make sure it fits. If you’re not sure, ask your coach for help. It will protect your ears from damage, and end the interference of having to adjust the headgear during a match.