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Guidance for personal safety equipment

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Casts, splints, braces and prosthetic devices are referred to as "non-required equipment." Depending on your sport, rules regarding this equipment may exist and may vary among sports.

Woman tightening a knee braceCasts, splints, braces and prosthetic devices are referred to as ​​"non-required equipment." Depending on your sport, rules regarding this equipment may exist and may vary among sports. 

A good example of a rule is a cast on a broken hand, finger or arm. In football, this is allowed at the high school level as long as the cast is padded properly. It's a good idea to show the padded cast (in this case) to the officials before the game starts and to have a medical release available at the game. In other sports, such as baseball, hockey, soccer, softball and track and field, padded casts or splints aren't allowed because they could injure an opponent or teammate. Check with game officials to confirm the rules.

You may notice football players use hinged knee braces to prevent injury. Many times, the braces are worn on the outside of their uniforms. College level competitions may have no requirements to pad these braces. High school rules may require additional padding and that the metal hinges are covered to help protect players from cuts or other injuries.

Prosthetic devices are allowed in many sports. Some competitions may require additional padding or review and approval prior to the event, to ensure the device being used offers no advantage in that particular sport.

Talk with officials before your competition or event regarding any splint, cast, brace or taping you're using. Show them that the item complies with the rules or ask them what more needs to be done to play or compete safely.

Good resources for rules regarding non-required equipment include the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association and event organizers.

​​​Share comments or questions on this information email: sports.medicine@marshfieldclinic.org​.

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