Which MMA Headgear Protects the Brain Best?
A headgear is a safety essential, and one of high quality can save the boxer from a lot of serious injuries to the brain. It has proved to be quite effective in reducing concussions and bruises for the most sensitive areas of the face, which can be ruin impressions for a match.
A headgear that protects the brain the best is one that comes with sufficient cushioning to protect the skull from heavy blows, so there are fewer chances of concussions and headaches. Also, it’s important to find a headgear that fits you just right, so it stays snug even after you take a hit.
Does MMA Headgear Help to Prevent Concussions?
Even though the prevention of concussions is often the selling point for most MMA headgear, it is not the only thing it is useful for. A headgear is more suitable for preventing bruising, nose injury, and facial cuts. There is no concrete evidence behind the fact that wearing headgear can prevent concussions in any of the sporting activities. However, it does act as a security blanket for those who feel more comfortable with something that can take strikes.
Just the mere presence of headgear is often considered an open invitation to the opponent to target the face more. It is just the willingness of the bearer to get hit more, and this is something that can be harmful to long-term brain health. It can also make the opponent act more aggressive towards you and make them hit harder than they normally would. Some trainees also believe that wearing a headgear is not better than a Vaseline-covered face as the blow could counteract with more friction instead of just slipping away and thus be more injurious to the user.
The IOC renounced their policy of headgear as a mandatory item for Olympic Boxing, but the Association of Ringside Physicians did not support that decision. This is probably due to the fact that most boxing participants are still amateurs who don’t have years of experience that could take away the need for protection that an MMA headgear provides.
If you are specifically looking to prevent concussions, a mouthguard is what you should be looking for to complement your headgear. MMA fights consist of grappling, which is why the headgear’s design is similar to that of wrestling headgears. Since MMA fighters and boxers don’t have to compete against holds or ground wrestling, a little firmer padded headgear does the job.
Most Important Features of Protective MMA Headgear
Unarguably, an MMA headgear is every fighter’s essential when they step into the boxing ring. Most trainers have set criteria for the headgear worn by their participants, while others let it be a matter of personal preference. Regardless, a good MMA headgear should consist of the following key features:
It goes without saying that if a boxer’s headgear does not fit, there are chances of further complications as it can come loose during the fight. Therefore, it is to be made sure that the headgear does not slide and has the correct laces and chin straps.
Moreover, a good lining material such as suede or one made of microfiber stays put even when the user experiences sweating. On the other hand, cheaper alternatives offer smooth vinyl lining, which does not have absorbent qualities and can be slippery during sweating; this can cause the whole headgear to budge and twist on the head. So even if you have to pay extra bucks, go for better material to prevent vision impairment and slips during the fight.
Headgears come with either a buckle style chin strap or a Velcro strap. The former one has hook and loop straps that have the tendency to stretch and come loose during the fight while a buckle style stays put. The more the padding coverage is, the less vision there is for the user. So your best bet is going for smaller cheek pads. A nose or chin pad can come in the way of fighting, and there is no use of an overly protective headgear if you cannot see a punch coming your way.
Heavily padded headgear can give a false sense of security, which can often lead to unforeseen traumas and the user getting habitual of safety around the head. A good fighter must learn to defend every part of the body without external protection gears.
MMA headgears come in two forms, gel padding, and foam padding. Gel padding can take multiple blows without compressing, which makes it more effective. It is also known to lessen the impact of a blow. Its lightweight nature also makes it a great choice for training. Foam padding has been around for long but is going out of fashion now as it is not nearly as effective. It makes the overall headgear thicker, resulting in discomfort for the user and reducing the range of vision.
So if comfort is your top priority, but you still want to opt for foam padding, look for headgear, which has less padding, preferably just on the cheeks. To sum it up, whether you are training or professionally fighting, don’t step away from headgear as a safety feature as padding in any form can save you from major head injuries and give you more confidence in the ring.
Overall, MMA headgear is an absolute necessity, and the aspects mentioned above should be considered before settling for one. Choosing the right headgear can not only protect you from potential traumas, but it can also give you the confidence boost that any fighter could use. If you and your partner agree on sparring, you can forego a heavily padded headgear, which will give you more ease and vision required for a successful fight. In fact, a headgear should only be worn during professional fights, not light sparring or training purposes.
If you are involved in moderately-paced fights, it can be a bit of a tricky situation, as wearing headgear can lead your opponent to increase the intensity without you being properly prepared for it. So instead of learning how to land blows properly, you might get involved with defending yourself more. However, this is not the worst perspective to go forward with, as protection first can give way to eventual success.