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  1. Describe the legal issues, manufacturing standards, and testing procedures of protective equipment and padding.

  2. Discuss the different types of protective equipment and padding used to prevent, treat, and rehabilitate injuries in interscholastic and intercollegiate sports and in recreational activities.

  3. Demonstrate how to apply protective equipment and padding in order to prevent, treat, and rehabilitate injuries.

  4. Explain and demonstrate the ability to select appropriate protective equipment and padding to prevent, treat, and rehabilitate various injuries.


Legal issues plague the design, manufacture, fit, application, and use of protective equipment and padding. The responsibility to ensure appropriate design and use is shared by the individuals who manufacture, purchase, fit, apply, and use the equipment and padding. For example, manufacturers may be found liable if an individual is injured while using their products or if the products are found to be defective or unfit for their designed purpose. Manufacturers may also be found liable if foreseeable, or anticipated, risks associated with the use of the products were not lessened or eliminated.49 Health care professionals have a duty to fit and apply the protective equipment according to manufacturers' guidelines and intended uses. Modifications to or use of equipment or padding in ways other than the intended purpose can place the liability on the health care professional and/or individual using the equipment and padding. Modifications that result in injury to the individual may lead to liability for the health care provider.

Health care professionals and others involved with protective equipment and padding can use the following recommendations to mitigate vulnerability to liability:

  • Select and purchase only high-quality equipment and padding from reputable manufacturers.

  • Become familiar with the warning labels and intended purposes for all equipment and padding purchased.

  • Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions when fitting the equipment and padding to the individual. Do not attempt to modify and/or alter any equipment and padding.

  • Instruct the individual on the use, application, and care of the equipment and padding.

  • Ensure that individuals read the warning labels and understand the use and care of the equipment or padding. Have individuals sign a form stating they understand the warning labels and risks involved with the sport or activity.

  • Continually monitor the use of and inspect the condition of the equipment and padding.

  • Perform regular maintenance on the equipment and padding as recommended by the manufacturer.

Legal issues surrounding protective equipment leave some questions for the health care professional. Can health care professionals be held liable if they don't monitor the equipment regularly or schedule regular reconditioning? Are they liable if they don't fully instruct the individual on the uses of the equipment? Further discussion on these liability issues can be found elsewhere. For more complete information, see the Web References.


During batting practice prior to a weekend ...

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