American football is an intense and sometimes dangerous sport that can often lead to the players sustaining various injuries and physical trauma. The sport is highly popularized partly because of how dangerous it can be and how this can rile up the crowds. It is for this reason that the list of protective gear for football is so long. There is different gear that is mandated by the game’s rules and additional gear for different positions that players can use as per their comfort.
The list of protective gear is quite long, from helmets, shoulder pads, gloves, football shoes, thigh and knee pads, to mouth guards and jockstraps. Additionally, knee braces for linemen are a part of non-mandated protective gear that many linemen prefer to wear. Let’s take a look at more about knee braces.
What is the Linemen’s role in the game?
If you’re not certain of the role that linemen play, here is a little bit of a refresher for you. Linemen are the players in football that start their game positioned at the line of scrimmage. The line of scrimmage is the imaginary line at the center of the football field where the teams face each other. A team’s linemen cannot cross into the opposition’s side of the line before the game has begun.
The linemen of the team that currently possess the ball are the linemen on the offensive line, whereas the linemen on the opposing team are the defensive line. The offensive line consists of the Center, the Guard, and the Tackle. The defensive line consists of the Tackles and the defensive Ends.
The main role of the linemen on the offensive is to protect the Quarterback and on the defensive is to allow the Linebacker to cross into the opposing team’s side of the field. This means that the linemen usually end up playing roughly and try and tackle each other. Linemen are usually very large and strong players with the best heights and weights. They do not have to be very fast or agile as compared to other players on the team. This is why linebackers are more prone to serious injuries. Being tackled by another large and strong player can lead to getting hurt. All the more reason for the importance of properly protective gear, including knee braces for linemen.
Why Linemen need to Wear Knee Braces
Most college or professional football players can be seen wearing knee braces during practices and games. These knee braces are the type that an athlete would wear after a form ACL or some other knee injury. The knee braces are very important to protect the ligaments and muscles in the knees, provide support and stability to the knees, and prevent any possible injuries.
Offensive linemen especially need to wear knee braces. This is because the role of the offensive lineman is to block the defender and stop them from crossing over to their team’s side of the field. This means that the offensive linemen are positioned in a way to block the onslaught but not to protect themselves from getting rolled or tipped over. Not bracing properly for a fall can lead to excessive pressure on the knees in case a fall actually happens. This is why knee braces are very necessary protective gear for football, especially for linemen.
Linemen are also at risk of getting rolled on. This is when the lineman isn’t able to block the defensive, and they both end up tipping over or falling back. When this happens, more often than not, the defensive lineman ends up falling on top of the offensive lineman, and their whole body weight is on the offensive lineman’s legs. This is a huge cause of foot, ankle, and knee injuries.
What to Look for in A Good Knee Brace?
There are certain qualities to a knee brace that you should be looking out for if you’re in the market for new knee braces. You may have different requirements and need specific types of braces. If you’re specifically looking for ligament protection and need to stabilize your knees, braces with hinges are a great option for you. The knee brace hinges are designed to provide medial and lateral ligament stability. Knee braces for linemen should ideally come with hinges.
The next thing you will want to keep an eye out for is the level of support you require. A lighter weight brace can offer protection and still allow a higher degree of ease of movement. A lightweight, flexible material would be a good option. You can get support, protection, and warmth without the added bulkiness. You also want a material that will ward off sweat to avoid any uncomfortable chafing and prevent slippage. The brace should also be the right size for you, not to be a hindrance.
Some of the Best Knee Braces for Football Linemen
Let’s take a look at some of the best knee braces for football linemen and what their distinguishing qualities are:
The 875 Ultra Knee Guard is a hinged compression knee brace made with spandex and aluminum. The brace is of great quality and provides ultimate ligament protection. It helps to prevent and heal medial/lateral instability, ligament sprains, hypertension, and arthritis. The compression lends support to the soft tissues in the knee and allows for better blood flow. The airflow vent allows for maximum ventilation and helps reduce moisture buildup and odor. The aluminum hinges are strong and provide full support without the risk of breakage.
The hinged knee brace by Bodyprox is great for men and women and provides excellent knee support for torn ACLs, tendon and ligament injuries, and knee pain. The brace is also great for improving stability and helps in recovering from runner’s knee, sport-related injuries, and athletic compression. The brace comes with two removable aluminum support hinges and padded buttresses. This adds comfort and support without restricting your mobility. An open front design allows for better alignment of the brace with the knee and lessens the pressure on the knee. Lastly, this product is in a latex-free high-grade material that is lightweight and breathable. Enough airflow prevents skin irritation while giving you just the right amount of warmth.
The Vive range of motion training knee brace stabilizes the knee, minimizes the risk of re-injury, and aids in post-injury or post-surgery recovery and rehabilitation. The range of motion knee brace is a full-length brace from the mid-thigh till the shin. It is great for full control over the leg’s range of motion because of its adjustable locking dial and extension and flexion sliders. The brace is completely size adjustable for lengths from 18 inches to 23.5 inches. It is also lightweight and made from durable aluminum alloy.
This knee brace by Shock Doctor is one of the best knee braces for football linemen. It is great for preventing and healing ACL injuries, hypertension, ligament sprains, and other knee-related injuries and pain. The brace is especially comfortable, with a four-way stretch mesh material at the back of the knee to allow for maximum movement and ventilation. The curved design of the brace with the dual hinges provides full support, and the front-open design gives you a better fit on the knee. The brace is made with strong, long-lasting neoprene material.
The knee compression sleeve by TechWare Pro is more than just a simple compression sleeve. It comes with the added features of stabilizer bars and gel pads that go around the kneecap for extra protection and comfort. The compression sleeve is great for everyday use and can be used for ligament and tendon tears, ACL, knee injuries, swelling, tendonitis, and post-surgery recovery. It is also great for preventing sports-related injuries from occurring. The compression sleeve is made with the best quality breathable knitted fabric (70% nylon, 15% spandex, and 15% latex) that allows for a snug fit, prevents slipping, provides moisture-wicking, and is light and airy.
The knee brace support by Sportout is a great option when it comes to knee braces for linemen. This product has some of the best features that you could look for in a knee brace. The aluminum hinges and strong and sturdy and provide lateral stability and maximum knee support. The compression material of the brace offers 360-degree compression for injury support and faster healing. The open kneecap design means that the brace is properly aligned with the kneecap at all times and is more reliable for avoiding injuries during sports. The adjustable straps offer extra comfort, and make sure that the brace fits your leg snugly. Lastly, it is made with premium neoprene, nylon, and polyester materials so that it is lightweight and breathable.
The K6 knee brace for men and women is perfect for relieving knee pain, healing ligament injuries, healing sports injuries, and preventing knee and ligament injuries in the future. The K6 brace is a lightweight and low-profile brace, meaning that it offloads the knee joint and transfers most of your body weight onto your thighs and calves instead. This means less pressure and exertion on the knee. The brace comes with 23 size variations so that it is the perfect size for you and a comfortably snug fit. The hinges are made from high-strength stainless steel, and the neoprene lining is breathable and wicks moisture and sweat.
Extra Precautions for Linemen
While knee braces for linemen are a great form of extra protective gear, they can only do so much in preventing knee injuries and degenerative diseases. An athlete’s body is their most important asset and needs to be properly protected and taken care of. An extra form of protection is specific and targeted exercises.
The first and most basic exercise you should be doing to prevent ACL injury is squats. Jump squats, lateral bound squats, and step-ups are also easy and simple exercises you can do. Additionally, Ball hamstring curls and ball walk-outs with kick-ups are great for building the muscles in your legs and strengthening the tendons and ligaments.
Our Final Thoughts
Whether you are playing a football game with your friends, playing in college, or hoping to go on and play professionally, if you’re a lineman, knee braces won’t go amiss. As a lineman, you have to be focused on blocking the defense, and as such, you can only spare so much attention to your stance and positioning. Getting rolled on and falling awkwardly is part of the role and can’t be avoided. This is why you need to take whatever measures you can to protect yourself.
We went through why knee braces are a hugely important part of protective gear for football and also took a look at a few of the best knee braces for football linemen. We hope you’ll take our advice and find the right fit knee braces for yourself so that you can play your best game and be fully protected while you play.