Importance of Rib Protection in Lacrosse
As any lacrosse player knows, the sport can be rough and tumble. Sticks flail, elbows fly, and bodies collide as players aggressively battle for ground balls and jockey for position in front of the goal. While helmets and pads protect many parts of a lacrosse player’s body, the rib and kidney area often goes unprotected, leaving players susceptible to painful bruises or even broken ribs.
Rib injuries are common in lacrosse. Studies have shown that rib fractures account for around 4% of all lacrosse injuries. While most rib injuries are minor contusions or fractures of the lower ribs, more serious injuries can occur. A direct blow to the rib cage may result in a pneumothorax (collapsed lung). There is also the risk of an injury to the liver or spleen if a stick or elbow catches a player in just the wrong spot.
Youth players are especially vulnerable to rib injuries. Young lacrosse players tend to keep their sticks up higher, leading to more unintentional stick contact up around the shoulders and ribs. And as youth players are still developing proper stick skills and body control, the frequency of inadvertent slashes and collisions is greater. Due to their smaller size and developing bones, young players are also more susceptible to fractures and organ injuries when impacts do occur.
Rib and flank injuries are painful, limiting a player’s ability to swing, run, and cut on the field. While minor fractures and bruises may only keep a player out for a few games, more serious rib cage or internal organ injuries can prematurely end a season and negatively impact performance when players are able to return. A pneumothorax or lacerated kidney or liver can even be life-threatening in some cases.
Fortunately, injury prevention technology has advanced, and several companies now produce padded rib shirts and protective kidney belts specifically designed for lacrosse. Brine, Maverik, STX, and Warrior all offer rib padding shirts fitted to be worn under the shoulder pads. Lightweight and breathable, these shirts have padded abdominal guards and ribs guards made of dense foam or flexible plastic. For even more protection, abrasion-resistant chest plates made of high-tech polymers are now available.
Kidney belts are another option for protecting the vulnerable lower rib area. Youth kidney belts are 4-6 inches wide belts of high-density foam that wrap around the waist to protect the abdomen and lower back. For maximum protection, many players wear a rib shirt integrated with a kidney belt.
While adding protective rib gear may seem unnecessary given all the other padding lacrosse players wear, ask anyone who has taken a stick across the ribs if rib padding is worth it. Ribs breaks and kidney shots are excruciatingly painful and all too common in lacrosse. Wearing extra padding significantly reduces injury risk and gives players confidence to play hard without fear.
Parents of youth players in particular should consider rib protectors. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends rib guards for lacrosse players 17 and younger. The rib cage does not fully calcify until the late teens, so younger players are at greater risk of fracture. And since youth leagues prohibit hard body checking, rib injuries usually result from incidental contact that could be prevented by padding.
Recreational and casual players can benefit from rib pads as well. While rib injuries tend to occur most frequently in high-level high school and college games where players are bigger and play more aggressively, getting hit with a stick hurts at any level of play. Adding rib protectors allows all lacrosse players to have fun without worrying about ending up on the sidelines.
Some players mistakenly believe that rib padding will restrict mobility. However, modern rib shirts are designed to be as lightweight and flexible as possible. Thin padding over vital areas still offers impact protection without impeding performance. Lacrosse will always involve some incidental hits – wearing a rib shirt just provides inexpensive insurance against injury.
Protecting kidneys and ribs with appropriate padding reduces injury risk and allows lacrosse players at all levels to play hard with confidence. While no sport can ever be completely without injury risk, taking precautions against avoidable stick shots and collisions will help ensure players can enjoy lacrosse without their seasons being cut short by broken ribs or organ injuries.
Types of Rib Pads for Lacrosse Players
As lacrosse continues to grow into one of the fastest paced and roughest sports around, more and more players are looking for ways to protect themselves from harm. Rib and flank injuries are common in lacrosse, so players at all levels have started strapping on protective rib padding under their shoulder pads. But with various styles and types of rib pads available, how do you choose which ones are right for you?
Rib shirts come in a variety of configurations to suit the needs of different players. Basic rib shirts provide padded abdominal protection and some rib coverage. More full-featured rib pads add kidney belts, integrated shoulder pads, and back protection. High-end rib pads offer maximum coverage of ribs, abdomen, kidneys, and spine.
For youth players, a basic rib shirt with a kidney belt offers sufficient protection. The floating ribs and kidneys are most susceptible to injury for young players. Lightweight foam pads over the abdomen and lower ribs is enough to protect developing bones and organs.
Intermediate and advanced youth players may prefer more comprehensive rib guards. Bulkier padding over the ribs, integrated kidney belt, and plastic chest plate increases protection as game play gets more physical. Built-in shoulder pads reduce space between rib pads and shoulder pads to minimize gaps.
High school players have more options when selecting rib protectors. For midfielders who value speed and mobility, a basic rib shirt with abdominal padding may suffice. Attack and defense players involved in more contact can choose full rib cage coverage and extra spine protection.
College and pro players involved in frequent physical play demand the highest levels of protection. Rigid plastic chest plates, extensive rib padding, integrated shoulder pads, and lower back components combine to safeguard the entire core of the body.
Whatever the playing level, rib pads need the right fit to provide maximum protection. Rib guards should fit snugly against the body without impeding movement or breathing. Pads should extend fully around the sides without leaving the abdomen and back exposed.
For goalies, oversized rib padding is recommended to protect against point blank shots. Extra layers over the chest, collars, and arms also help withstand ball impact. Most goalie chest protectors integrate rib, shoulder and arm padding into a single custom unit.
Women lacrosse players have rib guard options designed specifically for the female form. Anatomically contoured shirts with shaped chest plates and rib padding cater to the narrower shoulders and torso of female athletes. Protective rib wear is essential for women given the lack of padding in their uniforms.
In addition to protecting the ribs and core, specialized rib pads offer secondary benefits. Integrated hard shoulder caps reduce clavicle and sternal injuries from frontal checks. Back plates shield the spine from slashes. Tight-fitting shirts also compress and stabilize muscles to prevent strains.
While rib guards are commonly worn by lacrosse players today, some still question if they restrict mobility. But advances in materials and design allow for lightweight, breathable, and flexible pads that move naturally with an athlete’s body. With the right fit, rib padding should be unnoticeable while playing.
Lacrosse rib protectors now come equipped with innovative features to augment protection and performance. Anti-microbial coatings reduce odor buildup in equipment. Thermo-regulating fabrics and ventilation channels improve airflow and cooling. Some rib pads even include built-in heart rate monitors for tracking exertion.
Whether you prefer minimal or maximum protection, the range of available lacrosse rib pads ensures you can find equipment tailored to your needs. Protecting the vulnerable core of the body will allow players to enjoy playing lacrosse hard without worrying about painful or dangerous injuries to ribs and organs.
What to Look For When Buying Lacrosse Rib Pads
As a lacrosse player, protecting your ribs and core from injury should be a top priority. Rib injuries can sideline you for weeks or even the whole season. The good news is, with the right lacrosse rib pads, you can play confidently and minimize your injury risk.
But with so many options on the market, how do you choose the best lacrosse rib pads for your needs? Here are the key factors to consider when shopping for lacrosse rib protectors:
First, look at the coverage area of the rib pads. Some protect just the rib area while others will also shield your kidneys and abdomen. For maximum protection, choose pads with wider coverage across your core.
Pay attention to whether the rib padding wraps around your sides as well. Since sticks and balls often hit at an angle, side coverage helps prevent broken ribs and internal injuries.
Thicker padding absorbs more impact, but it also restricts mobility. Find the right balance for your playing style. Goalies may prefer maximum thickness for standing in the line of fire. Field players need enough padding for protection during checks, but also flexibility for running and dodging.
High-density foam or advanced polymer materials offer protection without excessive bulk. Some rib pads use removable inserts so you can adjust thickness as needed.
Straps and Fit
Rib protectors must stay in place during intense lacrosse action. A secure fit prevents the pads from shifting and exposing your ribs. Pads with multiple adjustable straps allow you to customize the fit.
Look for a snug fit around your torso without restricting your range of motion. The pads should move with your body. If they inhibit your agility, try a different style or size.
Lacrosse is a hot, sweaty sport. Rib pads with ventilation channels or breathable fabrics help keep you cool during games and practices. This moisture-wicking performance material also speeds evaporation so sweat doesn’t pool under the pads.
Venting is especially important for goalies under all that extra padding. But field players need airflow too for sprinting up and down in the mid-summer heat.
Comfort and Weight
The best lacrosse rib protectors have a lightweight, low-profile design. Bulky pads may shift around and feel uncomfortable as you play. Newer pads maximize protection while minimizing weight.
Look for rib pads with contoured, anatomical shaping or flexible segments that move with your body. The best pads offer full protection without restricting your range of motion.
Prioritize comfort – if the rib pads chafe, pinch, or dig into your sides, you won’t want to wear them consistently. And that defeats the purpose of protecting your ribs!
Youth vs. Adult Sizing
Lacrosse rib pads are sized by age, not a universal sizing system. Youth pads are designed specifically for growing bodies. Make sure young players get properly fitted pads – don’t just size down adult pads.
Youth rib protectors should offer full coverage without limiting mobility. Removable padding inserts allow flexibility to add thickness as kids grow.
Men’s vs. Women’s Fit
For teen and adult players, men’s and women’s lacrosse rib pads offer different fits. Women’s pads contour to the female form with curved shaping and adjustable straps for the right tapered fit.
Some brands simply “shrink” their men’s pads to create women’s versions. But better women’s pads are engineered specifically based on data and feedback from female players.
Lacrosse rib protectors range widely in price from under $20 into the $100s. In general, more expensive pads offer higher-end materials, more adjustments and better durability. But you can find excellent protection for under $50 as well.
Prioritize fit and coverage over cost. Cheap pads that shift around or fail to protect your ribs and core will end up costing you in injuries.
For parents buying youth pads, kids grow so fast it may make sense to purchase more budget-friendly pads. Just ensure they still provide quality protection until your player’s next growth spurt.
There you have it – the key factors to keep in mind when choosing lacrosse rib pads. Protecting your ribs and core with high-quality pads reduces injuries and pain so you can play your best. Smart pad choices give you the confidence to play all-out without worrying about the next big hit.
Top Lacrosse Rib Pad Brands on the Market
For lacrosse players, rib injuries can be incredibly painful and detrimental to performance. Getting hit with a ball traveling at high speeds can do some serious damage if you’re not properly protected. That’s why wearing quality rib pads is so important for lacrosse players of all ages and skill levels.
But with so many brands and options on the market, how do you know which rib pads are actually worth investing in? In this article, we’ll cover some of the top lacrosse rib pad brands that provide exceptional protection, comfort, and mobility for players.
One of the most trusted names in lacrosse equipment, Maverik makes high-quality rib pads that many elite players swear by. Their M3 rib pad is designed to move with you while providing top-notch protection across your ribs, kidneys, and abdomen. The three-piece pad system features EVA foam cushioning and polycarbonate molded caps for ultimate impact absorption.
Maverik’s compression fit shirt with flexible segments keeps the pads securely against your body while allowing for a full range of motion. For youth players, the Rome NXT 20 rib shirt provides a great balance of protection and comfort in a more streamlined design. Overall, Maverik rib pads offer some of the best protection and comfort on the market.
STX makes excellent lacrosse equipment across the board, including rib and kidney protection. The Cell 5 rib pads utilize innovative foam fusion technology for flexibility and responsiveness on the field. The multi-layer foam disperses impact for superior protection that players can trust.
For an integrated rib pad option, STX’s Surgeon 500 lacrosse shirt has removable Cell 5 shoulder and rib pads built right in. This provides incredibly lightweight yet hard-hitting protection all in one piece of gear. STX offers rib pads for men, women, and youth so players of all ages can stay protected.
Known for their protective gear, Warrior makes high-end rib pads that give lacrosse players the confidence to play all out. The Burn Pro rib pads feature removable pads so you can customize your protection. The multiple pad segments wrap around the ribs for full-contact protection from all angles.
Warrior’s lacrosse rib pads utilize advanced foam and shield technologies to absorb impacts without restricting mobility. Their Women’s Burn Lite rib shirt integrates lightweight foam pads into a fabrics sleeve for a streamlined protective design. For comprehensive coverage and adaptive protection, Warrior rib pads are a go-to choice.
Brine makes lacrosse gear designed for aggressive play, and their rib pad offerings live up to this reputation. The Clutch wrap rib pad protects the ribs, abdomen, and back with a 3-piece removable design. Strategic padding zones absorb shock while ventilation channels improve breathability.
For an integrated option, the Brine King Wrap rib shirt integrates removable padding throughout the midsection for full-contact protection. Brine’s Torrent Lax Ventilator rib pad also includes vented shield segments for breathable protection. Brine rib pads offer full customizable coverage for confident play.
Cascade is synonymous with lacrosse helmets but they also make quality protective gear for the rest of your body. The CPV-R rib pads feature removable pads and a compression shirt built for mobility. Strategically-placed polycarbonate cap reinforcements protect vulnerable strike zones.
For youth players, the Rookie Rellime RIB pad integrates ventilated foam padding into a sleeve-style shirt. Adjustable side straps allow for a customized contoured fit. Cascade’s lacrosse rib pads focus on keeping players protected while giving them the freedom to play their fastest.
Known for their lacrosse sticks, Gait also produces protective gear designed for agile play. The Dominator rib pad features removable padding sections connected by stretch mesh for full-wrap flexibility. The rib guards have a tapered design for ergonomic wrapped protection.
Gait’s Detonator lacrosse rib shirt integrates flexible padding into the upper body for lightweight, ventilated coverage. For female players, the Girls Dominate lacrosse shirt has built-in molded shoulder caps and rib padding for confident play. Gait’s innovative designs allow for free movement on the field.
Nike brings their athletic design experience to lacrosse with Vapor rib pads that move with players. The Crossover pads feature three removable sections for customized protection levels. Strategically-placed padding absorbs impacts while breathable mesh promotes airflow.
Nike’s integrated rib shirt options include the Vapor Power 2 rib shirt with molded foam shoulder caps and removable chest and rib padding. The Nike Vapor Women’s Crossover rib shirt protects female players with padded inner sleeves. Nike Vapor rib pads enable athletic mobility and protection.
When you’re constantly getting slammed with high-speed rubber balls, having quality rib pads is crucial for staying in the game. The top brands design lacrosse rib protectors to move with players while shielding vulnerable strike zones from painful blows. Investing in proper rib pads gives players the confidence to play all out without worrying about injuries.
For young athletes especially, parents should ensure their kids are outfitted with rib pads that provide sufficient coverage without restricting mobility. With the right fit and high-performance padding materials, lacrosse rib pads help players stay protected and on the field playing their best game possible.
Lacrosse Rib Pad Sizing and Fit
Finding the right lacrosse rib pads that properly fit your body type is crucial for maximizing protection and minimizing discomfort when playing. The rib cage and surrounding organs are vulnerable areas that can suffer significant injuries from checks, errant sticks, and hard balls during practices and games. Wearing properly fitted rib padding is one of the best ways lax players can protect these sensitive zones.
Yet many lacrosse athletes struggle to dial in the ideal rib pad size for their physique. Rib protectors come in a range of sizes, from youth small up through adult XXL. With varying chest widths, torso lengths, and body compositions across players, it can be tricky to select the size that delivers a “Goldilocks” fit – not too tight, not too loose, but just right.
To find your perfect lacrosse rib pad match, here are some key considerations when evaluating sizing and fit:
Measure Your Chest
The starting point for determining your rib protector size is measuring the circumference of your chest. Brands size their pads based on chest width, not strictly age or gender. Wrap a soft measuring tape around your chest, under your arm pits and across the fullest part of your chest. Record this measurement in inches or centimeters.
Compare your chest width to the sizing chart for the brand of rib pads you plan to purchase. Most charts will indicate the chest circumference range that a particular size will fit. Make sure to follow the brand’s specific instructions, as measuring techniques can vary. Choosing the size that aligns closest with your chest measurement is a good place to begin your fitting process.
Consider Torso Length
After finding your chest-aligned size, it’s important to evaluate if the rib protector length is a good match for your body’s dimensions. Rib pads extend from just under the armpits down to approximately the bottom of the ribcage. If the rib protector length is too short, it can leave the lower ribs exposed and unprotected.
Brands typically designate their pads as “short”, “regular” or “long” length. Measure from the center of your armpit down to the bottom of your ribcage to determine your torso length. Again compare to the brand’s size chart and descriptions to identify the length that will provide optimal coverage based on your measurements.
Some rib protectors come in a standard or “one size fits most” length, which provides less ability to fine tune the fit. Try these on and ensure they extend fully from armpits to lower ribs without excessive bunching at the waist.
Evaluate Overall Fit
With the right chest width and torso length selected, the next step is to put on the rib protector and assess the overall fit. When worn properly, lacrosse rib pads should feel snug but still comfortable. There should be no pinching, restricted breathing or range of motion.
However, rib padding that is too loose can shift out of position and leave gaps in protection. Most brands incorporate adjustable strapping to customize the tightness and dial in a secure fit.
Move around dynamically while wearing the rib protector to test the fit during lacrosse-like motions. Bend, twist, raise your arms, rotate your torso, and mimic cradling, scooping, passing and shooting. The pads should move with your body, staying in place over the ribs without impeding natural athletic actions.
If any part of the rib protector slides significantly out of position, it likely means that size is too big for you. Trying a smaller size is recommended to achieve a performance fit that won’t budge on the field.
Consider Adjustable Options
Some lacrosse athletes fall between standard pad sizes, making it tricky to find just the right fit. Rib protectors with extra adjustable features can be ideal in these situations.
Many pads include removable padding layers that allow you to customize the thickness as needed. Others have adjustable chest or waist strapping that helps fine tune the tightness of the fit.
Youth lacrosse players can benefit from rib protectors with expandable sizing features. These accomodate growth spurts and extend the useful lifespan of the pads so you don’t have to repurchase each season.
Taking advantage of adjustable elements gives lax players more flexibility to tweak the rib protector fit as their physique and preferences evolve over time.
Prioritize Comfort and Protection
Finding lacrosse rib pads that check the boxes for both comfort and protection should be the ultimate goal. An ideal rib protector fit allows you to play your best by eliminating pain and injury concerns.
With some trial and error using the measurement, sizing, and fitting techniques above, you can zero in on rib pads that offer the perfect blend of comfort, flexibility, and protection. Don’t settle for lacrosse rib padding that restricts your performance or leaves you vulnerable.
Take the time to properly assess your needs and dial in the rib protector fit that gives you confidence to play all-out without getting sidelined by injury. With the right pads in place, you can focus on your game rather than worrying about taking a painful shot to the ribs.
Hard vs. Soft Lacrosse Rib Protectors
When shopping for lacrosse rib pads, players are faced with the choice between hard shell and soft shell protectors. Both types have advantages and disadvantages when it comes to protection, comfort, cost, and more. Understanding the key differences between hard and soft rib pads can help you select the best option for your needs and playing style.
Hard shell rib protectors feature a rigid external plastic casing that covers protective foam or padding underneath. Soft shell pads have a flexible, fabric exterior that allows the internal cushioning to conform to the player’s body.
Here is an in-depth look at how hard and soft lacrosse rib protectors compare:
In terms of sheer protective capability against blunt force impacts, hard shell rib pads have the edge. The outer plastic shell better disperses energy from checks, errant sticks, and shots to the ribs or kidneys. It also resists penetration better than soft fabrics.
However, soft shell rib pads still provide substantial protection. High-density foams absorb impact well and the flexible materials move with the body to keep padding in place. For youth players and recreational leagues where high-speed checks are less common, soft shell can provide sufficient protection at a lower cost.
Comfort and Breathability
For comfort during long practices and games, soft shell rib protectors tend to outperform hard shells. The fabric exteriors conform to the player’s body type, moving and flexing with an athlete’s twists and turns. This provides a more customized fit.
Soft materials also allow for increased air circulation and breathability. The internal open cell foams won’t trap heat like solid plastic. By keeping players cooler, soft shell pads reduce irritating sweat buildup.
Hard plastic rib protectors can feel more confining and rigid during athletic motion. Large ventilation holes and thickness minimization in modern hard shell pads continue to improve breathability and comfort levels.
In terms of carrying weight during intense lacrosse activity, soft shell rib pads have the advantage. Made from lightweight, breathable fabrics and minimal foam layers, they are extremely lightweight and unobtrusive on the body.
Hard plastic shells add bulk from the thicker outer material. However, increasing use of polycarbonate and other advanced plastics continually reduces weight. Well-ventilated designs prevent moisture retention too.
For larger players that can handle the additional ounces, the protection level increase of hard shell ribs pads outweighs minor weight increases.
If upfront cost is a significant factor, soft shell rib protectors are generally the more budget-friendly choice. Simple fabrics and basic foam cushions keep manufacturing costs down.
Hard shell pads require more expensive materials like rigid plastics for the outer layer, and molded shapes are more labor intensive. These construction demands make hard shell rib padding a pricier initial investment.
However, the increased durability and longevity of hard shell protectors mean they may pay for themselves in the long run vs. replacing soft shell pads each season.
One advantage of hard shell rib protectors is better rebound control. The rigid exterior disperses impact force more evenly across its surface, reducing unpredictable ricochets off the pad.
Soft padded rib protectors can unpredictably spit back balls and checks in random directions. For positions like goalie that see high shot volume, this unpredictable rebound control can be detrimental.
The limited flex of hard shells allows them to retain shape on impact, keeping rebounds more controlled.
When playing in wet weather, hard shell rib pads provide superior moisture protection. The exterior plastic repels water penetration far better than absorbent fabrics. Padding underneath stays dryer as a result.
Soft shell rib protectors will become waterlogged and heavy in soggy conditions. However, the breathable materials still dry faster afterwards than solid plastic. Proper moisture-wicking fabrics can reduce water retention.
For lacrosse players in consistently rainy climates, the weatherproofing of hard shell pads gives them an edge.
Over a full season of play, hard shell rib protectors will better resist abrasions, scuffs and cosmetic damage. The tough outer plastic maintains structural integrity longer than fabric exteriors prone to tearing.
Soft shell rib pads show signs of wear sooner as foam cushions lose shape and fabric exteriors fray. This can diminish protective capabilities quicker than a hardy rigid shell.
For youth and high school players on multi-year protective gear budgets, increased durability helps justify the upfront cost of hard shell rib padding.
One advantage of soft shell rib protectors is that many integrate extra adjustable elements. Removable padding layers, adjustable shoulder straps, and customizable side closures allow you to tweak the fit of soft shell pads.
Hard shell rib protectors are less adjustable once manufactured. However, brands are adding more adjustable features like shoulder straps to improve the adaptability of hard shells.
Seeking out an adjustable hard shell or soft shell design can optimize fit for more body types and playing positions.
Consider Your Needs
When deciding between hard vs. soft lacrosse rib protectors, carefully consider your personal needs. Prioritize factors like cost, weather conditions, longevity, breathability, mobility, and weight that impact your individual on-field performance.
Often, more competitive varsity players favor the increased protection of durable hard shell pads. Recreational and youth players appreciate the budget friendly flexibility of soft shell protectors.
With the right balance of protection and comfort, you can gain confidence taking on tough opponents knowing your ribs are well defended. Shop smartly by letting your playing style, priorities and budget guide you toward the ideal lacrosse rib pads.
Rib Pad Placement and Positioning
Getting the right rib pad placement and positioning is key to maximizing protection for lacrosse players. With ribs and internal organs vulnerable to checks, errant sticks, and hard shots, wearing properly positioned rib padding reduces injury risk.
However, many lax athletes make small yet impactful errors in rib protector placement. An inch here or there might not seem like much, but it can leave gaping vulnerabilities or hinder mobility.
Follow these tips to dial in ideal rib pad placement and positioning:
Center Pads on the Sternum
The starting point for rib pad placement is centering the protector directly over the sternum or breastbone. Anchor the middle of the pad to this bony pillar running down the front of the ribcage.
When centered on the sternum, rib pads are equidistant from protecting ribs on the left and right side. This ensures padding coverage extends fully around the rib cage when straps are tightened.
Sit Pads Below Collar Bones
Many players make the mistake of wearing rib pads too high, with the top edge above their collar bones. This not only leaves upper ribs exposed, but can obstruct shoulder pads sitting correctly.
Ideally, the upper edge of rib protectors should sit an inch or two below the collar bones. This protects the critical lower neck region from shots rising up the chest area.
Extend Pads Down to Lower Ribs
Equally problematic as wearing rib pads too high is failing to pull them low enough on the torso. Protectors worn too short leave lower ribs susceptible to bruising or breaks.
When properly placed, lacrosse rib pads should extend down to the bottom of the rib cage or just above the naval. This protects the entire rib section all the way around the torso.
Overlap Pads with Hip Pads
For maximum protection of the vulnerable lower ribs near the kidneys, rib and hip pads should have overlapping coverage. Most rib pads are contoured to extend slightly below the ribs in front to facilitate this overlap.
When simultaneously worn, rib and hip pads should interlock with 1-2 inches of overlapping protection across the sides of the torso near the waist.
Secure Snug but Not Too Tight
Proper tightness and security of straps helps hold rib pads in ideal position during intense athletic motion. Straps that are too loose allow the protector to shift, creating coverage gaps.
But overtightening restricts range of motion. Rule of thumb is securing rib pad straps snug enough so the protector does not shift more than an inch in any direction during dynamic lacrosse movements.
Pay Attention to Torso Length
Size and length of rib pads must match a player’s torso dimensions for ideal coverage. Extra long rib protectors on a shorter torso create uncomfortable bunching.
Conversely, standard length pads on a longer torso leave lower ribs exposed. Matching protector length to body length via sizing charts ensures complete top-to-bottom protection.
Account for Arm Position
When fitting rib pads, athletes should account for arm and shoulder positioning. Pads may shift or fit differently depending on arm placement.
Mimic lacrosse arm positions like cradling or shooting during fitting to observe if rib pads stay positioned correctly or not during dynamic play.
Consider Your Position
Unique protection demands of different lacrosse positions can impact ideal rib pad placement. Close-checking defensemen may need extended side torso coverage compared to midfielders.
Goalies benefit from maximum all-around protection and minimized gaps that affect rebound control. Evaluate your needs to optimize placement.
Tweak Fit Over Time
As lacrosse players grow and evolve physically, rib protector placement and positioning may require tweaks. Reassess fit frequently, especially for growing youth athletes.
Loosening straps, removing padding layers, or even resizing pads ensures continued optimal protection over time. Don’t ignore minor fit shifts that leave you exposed.
Dialing in rib pad placement and positioning takes some trial and error. But avoiding injury from a brutal torso shot makes this effort worthwhile.
Take the time to carefully evaluate where your rib protectors sit, and make alignment adjustments as needed. With pads properly positioned, you can play all-out with confidence.
Don’t let small fit errors put your ribs and organs at risk. Properly placed lacrosse rib padding gives you peace of mind to focus on playing your very best, rather than worrying about the next high-speed impact coming your way.
Adding Kidney Protection for Lacrosse
As a lifelong lacrosse player and coach, I’ve seen my fair share of injuries on the field. Getting slashed by a stick or crunched by an aggressive defender is just part of the game. But one area that often goes unprotected is the kidneys. Kidney injuries might not be extremely common in lacrosse, but they can have severe consequences if they do occur.
I first became aware of the issue when one of my youth players took a nasty shot to the lower back during a game. At first, it just looked like a normal hard check. But after a few minutes, he was still down on the ground writhing in pain. We had to call an ambulance to take him to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a lacerated kidney. It was a scary wake-up call about just how vulnerable that area of the body is.
After seeing the damage a kidney injury could cause, I started researching ways to better protect my players. I discovered there are actually specialized pads and belts designed specifically for kidney protection in lacrosse. Brands like STX, Maverik, and Epoch make padded compression shorts and belts that shield the lower back and sides. They usually retail for $30-60, a small investment to help prevent a serious issue.
Getting Buy-In from Players
As a coach, I knew getting teenage boys to wear extra protective gear would be a hard sell. Most lacrosse players pride themselves on being tough and resilient. The last thing they want is to be bogged down with more equipment. But I was determined to keep their health and safety the top priority.
I started by educating my team about the dangers of kidney injuries. We reviewed the anatomy of the kidneys and how they are vulnerable in the lower back area. I shared stories of other players who had suffered kidney lacerations or ruptures on the field. Knowledge is power – I wanted my athletes to understand the risks.
I also took a positive, proactive approach. Rather than scolding players for not wearing kidney protection, I made it about enhancing performance. I explained how wearing a pad can give players confidence to play more fearlessly, knowing their kidneys are safe. The more reassured they feel, the better they can focus on the game.
Finally, I took personal responsibility as the coach. I researched brands and options and arranged for our program budget to cover kidney pad expenses. I told players and parents that this was an investment in safety that our club was happy to make. Taking the financial component out of it helped increase buy-in.
After presenting kidney protection as an opportunity rather than a requirement, most of my players got on board. Our team athletic trainer helped size players for the right compression shorts or belt based on their body types and preference. Players reported that the pads only took a practice or two to get used to.
I’m happy to report that over the last two seasons, we have not had any kidney injuries since implementing this program. The pads have helped diffuse contact to vulnerable areas. Players seem more willing to sacrifice their bodies, block shots, and take checks knowing their kidneys are protected.
My advice to any lacrosse coach is to make kidney protection part of your training regimen. Start educating players at a young age before bad habits form. A kidney injury can happen to anyone at any time on the field. But with the right precautions, you can dramatically reduce the risks. Your players’ health and safety should always come first.
Adding kidney and rib protection doesn’t make you less tough; it makes you smart. Our focus should be maximizing performance and minimizing preventable injuries. With the right pads and a proactive approach, we can keep our athletes safe while unleashing them to reach their full potential on the field.
Protecting Yourself as a Youth Lacrosse Player
Lacrosse is an exciting, fast-paced sport that is growing rapidly in popularity, especially among youth. As fun as it is, lacrosse can also be physically demanding and players are vulnerable to injury if the proper precautions aren’t taken. For youth players in particular, safety should be a top priority.
One of the key injury risks in lacrosse comes from stick and ball contact. Youth players are still developing their skills and often lack full control over their crosse and the ball, leading to more errant shots and checks. Taking a hard rubber lacrosse ball to the head, face, neck or spine can result in anything from cuts and bruises to concussions and fractures if a player goes unprotected.
To guard against these types of injuries, youth lacrosse players absolutely must wear protective headgear during all practices and games. Helmets designed specifically for lacrosse provide padding to cushion blows to the head from the ball, other sticks and contact with other players or the playing surface. Chin straps should be snug to ensure the helmet doesn’t shift and expose parts of the face or head. Most youth lacrosse leagues require face masks as well for more comprehensive protection.
Another vulnerable area is the rib cage. Taking a hit there not only causes a lot of short-term pain but can lead to broken or bruised ribs, which can sideline a young player for weeks. Rib pads and padded shirts provide an extra layer of padding over the rib cage to absorb the shock of hits. The padding also protects the stomach area. Rib pads slip into special pockets in lacrosse undershirts to keep them securely in place.
Further down, youth players should wear pads on their kidney areas as well. Kidney injuries from lacrosse ball impacts are rare but do occur. Kidney pads protect this vital and vulnerable organ located in the lower back area. They can be worn as a standalone protector or integrated into padded lacrosse shorts and girdles.
Of course, pads and helmets aren’t much use if they aren’t worn properly. Taking the time to make sure all equipment is fitted and adjusted correctly goes a long way toward keeping youth lacrosse players safe. Helmets shouldn’t slide around on the head when the chin strap is buckled. Pads should lay flat against the areas they are protecting without major gaps. If anything feels loose or restrictive, get help from coaches or parents to adjust the pads and tighten straps as needed.
Beyond protective gear, youth players and their coaches need to take care to promote safe playing techniques as well. Using proper form when cradling, passing, catching and checking helps reduce awkward collisions that can cause injury even when pads are worn. Coaches should drill the fundamentals repeatedly and not allow overly aggressive or reckless play.
Finally, youth players can protect themselves by speaking up about injuries. Trying to tough it out through a headache or dizziness, for example, can allow a mild concussion to become worse. Letting coaches and parents know about any pain or injury symptoms right away allows the issue to be addressed promptly before permanent damage is done.
Lacrosse will always involve some degree of risk since it is a contact sport. However, taking the right precautions goes a long way toward allowing youth players to enjoy the sport safely. With certified helmets and pads, proper fitting and wear, an emphasis on sound fundamentals and smart injury reporting, young lacrosse players can play hard and minimize the risk of injuries and long-term health issues.
Common Lacrosse Rib and Kidney Injuries
Lacrosse is an exhilarating sport that keeps players actively moving across the field. With high speed play and physical contact, injuries are an unfortunate reality. Two areas particularly vulnerable to injury are the ribs and kidneys.
Rib injuries are very common in lacrosse. The rib cage is an obvious target for sticks, balls, and collisions with other players. Fractured, bruised, or broken ribs can occur from direct blows or from the twisting and impact forces involved in checks and falls. Rib pain makes it agonizing to run, twist, breathe deeply, or cradle the crosse.
One concerning rib injury seen in lacrosse is a flail chest, where multiple rib fractures in several places cause a loose segment of ribs that shifts unnaturally. This can impair breathing and require prompt medical attention. Less severe but more common are hairline rib fractures that cause pain and stiffness.
Checking is a major contributor to rib injuries in lacrosse. Legal stick checks focused on dislodging the ball can lead to inadvertent rib shots. Checks using too much force or hitting off-target areas like the back and ribs are dangerous and illegal, but still occur too often in the fast flow of a game.
Kidney injuries most often result from a direct blow to the lower back around where the kidneys are located. The adrenaline of playing helps mask any pain in the moment, but kidney trauma leads to severe pain later on. Lacrosse balls, helmets, pads, elbows, and sticks can all cause kidney injury on hits to that area.
One concerning type of kidney injury is a Grade 1-2 kidney laceration or contusion. This is where an impact causes bruising or tearing of the kidney tissue. Blood in the urine, abdominal pain, fever, and vomiting are symptoms. Major cases require hospitalization. Another potential kidney injury in lacrosse is hematoma, where bleeding occurs around the kidney due to a ruptured blood vessel.
Goalies are at heightened risk for both rib and kidney injuries. Shots aimed at the net frequently ride up and strike goalies in the ribs, back, and kidneys.Goalie equipment helps but doesn’t provide complete protection, especially from close range. Chest protectors may leave some rib areas lightly covered in order to preserve mobility.
Outfield players are also vulnerable. Blind side checks can strike ribs before a player sees it coming. Loose balls and deflected passes put players in the line of fire. Congested play around the crease creates collisions and stick shots to the ribs and lower back. Unprotected kidney areas are susceptible on shots that ride under the pads.
The good news is lacrosse players can take steps to protect themselves from painful rib and kidney injuries.
Wearing protective rib pads under the jersey is a must. Major pad gaps can be covered with padded lacrosse shirts for extra cushioning. For goalies, chest protectors with rib padding should be worn tight against the body to minimize gaps.
Kidney padding is also essential. Youth players in particular should use kidneys pads or padded lacrosse shorts with kidney protection. Properly fitted pads over both kidneys reduces the chance of trauma.
Using proper checking technique is important to avoid illegal or overly forceful hits. Coaches need to teach controlled checking fundamentals from a young age. On the field, players should avoid hurling their bodies recklessly at opponents to gain possession.
Finally, strength training to build core muscle strength helps stabilize the back and ribs. This makes them better able to withstand routine lacrosse contact. Yoga and mobility exercises also improve flexibility to twist and turn while minimizing injury risk.
While rib and kidney injuries will always be an inherent risk in such a fast and physical sport, lacrosse players can take steps to protect themselves. Paying extra attention to covering these vulnerable areas with well-fitted pads, learning safe checking techniques, and strengthening the core and back through training are vital injury prevention measures. Taking these precautions helps ensure athletes can keep enjoying the sport they love.
When to Replace Old or Damaged Rib Pads
As an essential piece of protective lacrosse gear, rib pads play a critical role in keeping players safe from injury. However, rib pads absorb a lot of abuse over practices and games and can wear down over time. Knowing when it’s time to replace rib pads is important for maintaining protection.
Rib pads cushion against blunt force from ball and stick impacts. They allow players to play physically without as much worry about fractures or deep muscle bruising around the ribs. But rib pads don’t last forever and need replacing when their protective qualities become compromised.
The first sign rib pads need swapping is simply from age and use. Most rib pads should be replaced every 2-3 seasons or so. The padding compresses over time and loses some of its shock absorbing properties. Straps also stretch out, causing ill-fitting pads prone to shifting around.
For youth players who grow rapidly, rib pads can become too small in just one season. Recheck the fit of rib pads at the start of each season to allow growing room. Proper coverage requires the pads wrap fully around the rib cage with no gaps.
Beyond normal wear, damaged rib pads require quicker replacement. Cracks in the hard plastic shell allow more impact force through to the ribs. Make sure to inspect pads regularly for any cracks around the edges or damage to pad connectors.
Split seams are another issue, causing padding to poke out. Loose padding diminishes protection and can also chafe skin. Damaged or missing straps likewise reduce secure fit, leading to pads shifting out of place upon impact.
If rib pads have visible tears in the outer fabric, the inner padding is likely compromised as well. Sections of smashed or compacted padding indicate the material is breaking down and unable to absorb energy as effectively. Any visible cuts, holes or gashes in the padding material also show it’s time for new pads.
Lacrosse players should check rib pads after any big collisions or extra physical games when damage is most likely. Goalies in particular need to inspect equipment after hard shot impacts near the ribs.
Even without visible damage, excessive pad stiffness or flattened areas signal the materials are breaking down internally. If pads feel loose, tighten straps as much as possible to test if that restores secure fit. If not, the straps are stretched out and new pads are needed.
Don’t forget to check lower back kidney pads as well. Look for padding issues, warped plastic backs, and loose internal bladder systems. Replace kidney pads on the same timeline as rib protectors.
Replacing rib pads is worthwhile for both safety and performance. Worn rib pads allow more pain from bone-jarring checks and shots. That extra fear can cause tentative play. New pads restore confidence to play physically and aggressively go after every ground ball.
When shopping for replacements, take rib pads for a test drive. Swing crosse sticks forcefully at the pads to ensure superb impact absorption. Prioritize fit and comfort too for full long game protection.
While pricy, the cost of new rib pads is minor compared to the pain and recovery time from preventable rib or kidney injuries. Setting a reminder to replace pads every few seasons ensures you get the full protective benefits throughout each hard-fought lacrosse game.
Proper Care and Maintenance of Lacrosse Rib Guards
Lacrosse rib guards take a beating during practices and games, absorbing tough blows that would otherwise injure ribs and organs. With routine care and maintenance, rib pads can better withstand harsh treatment and provide longer lasting protection.
Start by rinsing dirty pads after each use. Dirt, grass, and sweat can embed in the padding over time. Use a gentle spray to knock off surface debris without saturating the pads. Allow pads to fully air dry before storing.
Occasionally do a deeper cleaning by hand washing pads in cold water with a small amount of mild detergent. Use a washcloth to gently scrub the padding and outer material. Hang pads to dry away from direct heat or sunlight, which can degrade the materials.
Check pads while cleaning for any damage or wear. Look for padding tears, cracks in the shell, ripped mesh, and loose connectors. Catching issues early allows more time to replace pads before further deterioration.
Sanitize pads before each season as well. This helps kill bacteria that can cause odors and skin irritation. Make a sanitizing spray using 2 teaspoons of rubbing alcohol per 1 cup of water. Lightly mist onto pads, let sit briefly, then wipe or allow to fully dry.
For rib guards with removable pads, take these out periodically to clean the shell separately. Use disinfectant wipes on the inside surface and rinse out any accumulated dirt and moisture.When possible, rotate between two sets of rib pads to extend the usable lifespan of each. The pads dried out from previous use will offer better protection than constantly soggy ones.
Proper pad storage is also key. Keep rib guards inside a ventilated bag or hung up rather than tossing them loosely in a cramped locker. Allowing pads to decompress between uses preserves the shock absorbing qualities.
Avoid storing pads in very hot or very cold conditions. Temperature extremes can degrade padding materials over time. Storing pads away from direct sunlight helps avoid material breakdown.
During colder weather, don’t use external heat sources to warm or dry pads. Placing near heaters or using hairdryers can cause the pad lining to become brittle and crack.
Before each game or practice, do a quick inspection for any new cracks, padding rips, or loose screws. Minor repairs can often extend the life of rib guards. Use plastic epoxy to seal small cracks in the shell. Replace missing screws promptly to avoid bigger damage.
Monitor pad straps and fasteners closely. Stretched out straps allow unwanted pad shifting that leaves areas unprotected. Replace loose straps to maintain a snug fit.
With some daily maintenance and periodic deep cleaning, lacrosse rib and kidney pads can better withstand years of rough play. Proper storage and inspection also allows early detection of damage before it worsens. Taking care of these vital protective gears improves safety and reduces replacement costs.
Customizing Your Lacrosse Rib Protection
Finding the right lacrosse rib pads involves more than just grabbing a standard size off the shelf. Taking the time to customize your rib guards results in a more comfortable fit and better protection on the field.
The main customization for rib pads is getting the right size. Measure around your chest below the armpits to determine your sizing. Guards should wrap snugly without restricting breathing or movement. Loose pads shift and leave gaps during play.
Within a particular size, different pad models fit differently due to variations in shape. Try on different brands to find the ones that contours closest to your body. Female lacrosse players may need women’s specific rib guard designs tailored for narrower frames.
Adjustable elastic straps allow tightening pads for a snugger fit. But don’t rely too heavily on cranked straps to make oversized pads work. Optimal protection comes from rib guards with proper overall coverage.
Placement is part of fit too. Make sure pads cover the sides and front of ribs without leaving the back area too exposed. Kidney pads should rest over each kidney location in the lower back.
For total coverage, some lacrosse players layer a padded shirt underneath their rib guards. This bridges any small padding gaps and provides an extra cushioning layer.
Pad thickness is another customization factor. Thicker pads offer more protection but can restrict mobility. Test different thicknesses to find the right balance of cushioning versus flexibility for your playing style.
Those needing extra rib protection can insert extra foam padding into pad pockets or sleeves. Using aftermarket foam lets players beef up guards only in vulnerable areas rather than the entire pad.
For players with chronic rib injuries, look at rib guards with added plastic exoskeletons or plates over the padding. These extra hard shell layers disperse impact force over a wider area for enhanced protection.
Beyond fit, lacrosse athletes can customize the look of their rib pads too. Many guards offer multiple color schemes to match team uniforms. A wide color selection allows goalies to coordinate pads with the rest of their equipment.
Some brands allow fully custom graphics. Upload a unique design to add numbers, names, logos or special patterns that personalize pads.
Don’t overlook comfort customizations either. For irritation-prone skin, look for rib guards with soft, smooth pad linings instead of coarse materials. Breathable mesh backing reduces sweat buildup during hot weather play.
Taken together, these individual tweaks in sizing, fit, thickness, and aesthetics let lacrosse players tailor rib pads to their needs and preferences. The few extra minutes spent dialing in the right rib guards pays off with better performance and safer play.
Reviews of the Best Lacrosse Rib Protectors
Finding the right lacrosse rib pads to protect your ribs and organs is key to confident and aggressive play. With many brands and styles available, here are reviews of some top rib protector options to consider:
Maverik Rome Rib Pads
The Maverik Rome rib pads offer lightweight, low-profile protection. The elongated padding shape provides excellent rib coverage for midfielder runs up and down the field. Abrasion-resistant nylon shell withstands ground balls and checks. Priced under $50, they deliver great value.
STX Stallion 500 Rib Pads
STX Stallion rib guards provide a excellent balance of mobility and protection. Dual-density foam dissipates shocks while retaining flexibility. The stretch nylon shell moves easily with the body. An adjustable belt system ensures secure fit. At around $75, these pads rate as a top mid-range choice.
Warrior Rabil Rib Pads
Designed with input from MLL star Paul Rabil, these Warrior rib pads provide premier protection. Multiple foam layers absorb heavy impacts while the advanced polymer shell deflects blows. Large extended panels shield the entire rib area. High-end construction comes at a premium price of $130.
Epoch Integra Rib Pads
Epoch Integra rib protectors feature an innovative rib bridge design for total coverage. Overlapping pad segments eliminate gaps while keeping guards flexible. Interior grip lining prevents shifting. Moisture-wicking lining manages sweat. Integra rib pads retail around $90.
Nike Vapor Elite Rib Guards
Nike Vapor rib protectors use multi-layer padding for elite protection with minimal bulk. Ventilated arch panels enhance breathability. An inner gel layer prevents bottoming out of the padding. The dynamic fit binds tightly to the body in motion. Expect to pay about $100 for these top-end Nike pads.
Under Armour Command Rib Sleeves
For low profile protection, Under Armour Command sleeves are a lightweight option. Highly breathable UA HeatGear fabric allows excelletn mobility. Anti-odor technology prevents smells. Perforations aid ventilation. Thin but effective padding works for around $35.
Cascade Rookie Rib Pads
Great for youth lacrosse players, Cascade Rookie rib guards offer high quality at an affordable price under $20. The adjustable elastic belt ensures secure fit. Ventilated foam protects without overheating. Hard plastic inserts provide additional protection.
Consider your needs for impact absorption, breathability, adjustability and overall coverage when selecting lacrosse rib pads. Any of these top brands provides excellent protection to allow hard-nosed lacrosse play without fear of injury.
Staying Safe While Improving Your Lacrosse Game
Pushing your lacrosse skills to the next level requires hard work and dedication. But competitive drive must be balanced with injury prevention measures to enable long-term development.
On-field training is vital for improving stick skills, shooting, conditioning and game strategy. But take care to build up training volume gradually over time as muscles strengthen. Sudden large increases in high intensity drills or workout duration spikes injury risk.
Warm up properly before intense sessions. Take 5-10 minutes for light jogging, dynamic stretches and cradle work to get muscles warm and loose. Cool down afterwards as well with slow jogging and static stretching. This enhances recovery.
Monitor body signals like pain or excessive fatigue that indicate a need to pull back and avoid overtraining. Schedule regular rest days for muscles to recover fully. Staying healthy for the next workout is better than overdoing it.
Emphasize proper technique during drills to ingrain good mechanics. For example, keep wrists firm when cradling to avoid painful sprains. Shoot with the entire body rather than just arms to prevent shoulder issues.
Use training equipment like rebounders and shooting nets to hone skills while minimizing high-impact forces during repetitive drills. Manage practice intensity to avoid exhaustion where injury risk skyrockets.
Also consider personal factors like age that impact durability. Scale back volume and intensity for very young players. Limit full contact drills to build skills before adding physicality.
Off the field, support overall health through proper nutrition, hydration and sleep. Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after workouts. Get enough rest to allow muscles to recover fully.
Incorporating core and joint stability exercises builds physical resilience to withstand hard lacrosse play. Focus on hip, glute, hamstring and back strength to support pivoting and cutting.
Don’t overlook injury prevention gear. Use properly fitted pads for ribs, elbows, shoulders and kidneys to allow playing with confidence.
Periodically swap out gear like old helmets and rib pads which degrade over time. Ensure gloves remain supportive without restricting movement.
Cross train with swimming, yoga and other low-impact sports to develop fitness without additional lacrosse wear and tear.
Making safety an ongoing priority allows lacrosse players to keep striving for excellence. Patience and moderation when pushing limits prevents attempts at rapid skill gains from backfiring into lost training time and delayed development.