Protective Braces: Preventing Knee Injuries in Offensive Linemen

While we’ve seen the sport of football skyrocket in popularity over the last decade, we’ve also seen injuries skyrocket as well. Now more than ever we are aware of the high numbers of players being taken off the roster due to injuries that sometimes cost them the rest of the season.

Just two weeks into the 2015 season, 15% of football players had already experienced an injury. This report included 12 concussions, two neck injuries, and 40 knee injuries. According to the same report, the 2013-2014 season saw more than 1,300 injuries, suggesting that the 2015 season injuries were simply on par with the previous years.

Knee injuries are one of the most common areas for injury in football. Because of the force and high amount of contact in the sport, player’s knees are constantly exposed to high levels of pressure and torque that are a common cause of knee injuries. Movements that can cause these knee injuries include stopping/starting, directional changes, pivoting, and blunt force to the knee. Unfortunately, players are required to perform these movements day in and day out, so avoiding knee injury can be difficult.

Offensive linemen are right at the heart of contact and tackles, and they experience a large number of the knee injuries that occur. According to studies, offensive linemen have a greater risk for knee injury than perimeter linemen, which include defensive ends and offensive tackles. For those who play in this position, or who plan to take on this position, the protection of your knees is of the utmost importance if you want to stay healthy throughout the season.

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Protective Braces

To help limit the amount of injury done to an offensive linemen’s knees, there are some options for protection, including a protective knee brace. While a knee brace will not stop injury indefinitely, it may help to increase outer protection of the knee and offer increased stabilization of the joint. The following are a few of the knee braces available, which may help offensive linemen protect and prevent injury to their knees:

Mueller Shokk Knee Brace Pads

For players looking for something simplistic but effective, a knee brace pad for football can offer some extra protection around the knee joint without limiting movement. The knee pads work to cushion and absorb shock, so offensive linemen can have some added protection during knee-to-knee contact and tackles.

This knee brace pad offers basic support, so players who are just starting out and who want to get comfortable with a brace may consider this design. The brace has a neoprene blend, and provides constant compression and warmth to the area to aid in injury prevention.

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Mueller Football Hinge 2100 Knee Brace

As mentioned, some of the injuries that occur in offensive linemen happen during hard tackles and contact. Many of the tackles that occur will come from the side angle of a player, which can be extremely harmful to the kneecap.

For those players that suffer constant lateral blows from tackles and contact, this hinged knee brace may be suited to them. The design is meant to protect the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and helps to protect from hyperextension injuries.

This brace is extremely convenient for players, providing a design that can be worn on either leg while still providing maximum mobility. Hinges in the design roll with the knee and track its movement to protect the joint and soften the blow of contact. Offensive linemen who want to prevent knee hyperextension should certainly consider a brace of this caliber.

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Breg Custom Fusion w/ AirTech Knee Brace

Offensive linemen who are looking for overall protection for their ACL, MCL, PCL, and collateral ligaments should consider a brace like the Breg Custom Fusion. A brace like this offers stability throughout the knee joint, while still being sleek and lightweight enough that it will not inhibit movement and performance.

The brace is lined with frame padding to help the brace conform to the leg and inhibit migration, which is important to protecting the knee in any situation including twists, hits, pivots, etc. For football players looking for the highest amount of activity while maintaining full protection of the area, this kind of brace is beneficial.

Conclusion

Offensive linemen have very important jobs on the field, but it’s hard to perform at their best when they’re playing with insecurities or instabilities in their knees. To help prevent knee injuries at this position, it is suggested that players consider some of the braces above to increase stability and safety.

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