For What Are Chest Protectors Used

A chest protector is a key part of a baseball catcher’s gear.

Chest protectors are integral to the safety of athletes in a variety of sports. They’re typically made of lightweight foam, synthetic materials and/or plastic, and athletes either wear them under or over their uniforms. Chest protectors protect many of an athlete’s vital organs from trauma during physical sports.

Baseball

During a baseball game, the catcher wears a number of pieces of protective equipment, including a chest protector. Traditionally, these pads were made of foam, but modern-day protectors are made from lightweight synthetic materials. The catcher’s chest protector covers him from his collarbone to his waist, and depending on his preference, the equipment may include a cap over one or both shoulders. Baseball umpires also wear chest protectors, but wear them under their uniform shirts.

Hockey

You don’t see a hockey player’s check protector as the player wears this piece of equipment under his jersey. Though known as shoulder pads, this protector also covers the chest, roughly to the sternum. It’s made of lightweight materials and can include plastic for extra protection. The goalie in hockey wears a large, padded chest protector to avoid sustaining injuries from pucks. This style of chest protector is also known as “body armor.”

Football

Like shoulder pads in hockey, a football player’s shoulder pads also protect his chest. This piece of equipment also covers down to the player’s sternum, but football pads are lined with plastic to shield the player from injury during impact. Though the shoulder protection is important, the chest padding on this piece of protective gear is important for many players, specifically linemen. Upon the snap of the ball, offensive and defensive linemen push each other in the chest area, making this protector vital for preventing injury to the players’ ribs and internal organs. As is the case with hockey, football players wear their padding under their uniform.

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Motocross

Motocross racers use chest protectors made of durable, lightweight plastic and composite materials. Motocross racers wear this piece of equipment over their uniforms, and the protector is designed to shield the racer’s internal organs and spine during a crash. This style of chest protector also contains air vents for increased ventilation, and its materials are malleable to give the racer more flexibility.

Women’s Boxing

Though male boxers wear either a tank top or go shirtless during competition, women wear chest protectors under their tank tops. Depending on the athlete’s preference, she may choose to wear a heavily padded boxing bra or a foam, bra-style protector. Both types of pads are important to protect her breasts during bouts. Women also wear this style of chest protector during various kinds of martial arts, including jujitsu.

Paintball

Face protection is vital during games of paintball, but many serious players also protect their torso with specialized paintball chest protectors. This style of protective gear is shaped much like a baseball catcher’s padding and is typically made of lightweight, protective synthetic material. Straps hold it in place, and you can wear it above or under your clothing. An alternative chest protection method in paintball is to wear a padded shirt, which has pads sewn into pockets in the shirt.