Does boxing headgear prevent brain damage?

Does boxing headgear really offer the level of protection you think it does? You might be forgiven for feeling invincible with headgear because the padded protection offered by this handy piece of equipment allows for engagement in a safer environment. But recent changes have seen a number of major competitions drop their rules regarding headgear, which has raised some concern over the value of headgear in providing protection. Willboxing headgear really offer the protection you need? Does boxing headgear prevent brain damage? We explore more about boxing headgear to help you understand just how much protection to expect.


What does headgear offer?

Is headgear a necessary part of your boxing equipment? Here is a breakdown of the benefits and limitations of headgear to help you understand just what to expect from your headgear.


  1. Padding protects cuts, lacerations and bruises. If you need to save your face for work and still want to enjoy aggressive boxing application, headgear will prove crucial to protecting your face.
  2. Headgear offers protection against direct hits, which ensures lightly lower risk of impact related harm. By wearing appropriate headgear, you will be able to minimize your risk of head injury even when you are still relatively inexperienced.
  3. Headgear inspires confidence in some fighters, allowing them to improve aspects of their game. If you are taking up boxing training, wearing headgear could help you


  1. Headgear will reduce your range of vision if it is very heavily padded. It will also limit visibility with additional protective features such as a face saver grill. This could increase the frequency of opponents landing dangerous hits.
  2. Headgear will increase the target area, allowing your opponents better landing accuracy, which may increase the risk of injury. As a result of the increased risk, headgear could be a factor for more concussions.
  3. Headgear tends to create a false sense of security, and users could engage in more reckless exertion which could boost the risk of injury. Without headgear, fighters will put up better guard and seek to lower their risk of harm


Why are fewer competitions mandating headgear?

The decision by the Olympic Committee to do away with headgear raised major concerns for boxing enthusiasts and fighters alike. Headgear offers protection against potentially critical injuries, so why do away with it?

Well, headgear does not completely do away with the risk of injury. It merely provides sufficiently padded protection against certain types of hits, making your participation safer. This means that fighters still face some risk of being injured even without headgear. The first key reason why major competitions have eliminated this protective gear is the relatively low level of protection offered for concussions. Despite the padded protection, fighters still face some risk of their brain rocking with heavy hits, which is the key cause. Headgear will also increase the target area, which makes it easier for fighters to land punches to the head. By doing away with headgear, these competitions seek to minimize the likelihood of concussions.

Fighters are also likely to take more risks during matches when they are wearing headgear, which increases the risk of injury and reduces the effectiveness of the gear. When wearing headgear, fighters will be more likely to leave their guard exposed and favor a more aggressive approach, which may result in a higher tendency of opponents landing crucial punches at your head. The same problem has even been identified for cyclists and motor cycle users! By doing away with headgear, these competitions reduce the risk fighters could place themselves in.

It is important to note that professional athletes are generally very well trained on offensive and defensive techniques, and maintain a high level of physicality that allows them to be sharp when protecting themselves against hits. If you are looking to engage in boxing, headgear could offer greater benefit to you than it could a pro fighter.

Should you do away with your headgear?

If you are training for or planning to engage in competitive boxing, you will need to get used to a headgear-less experience. You could still benefit from using your headgear for sparring and other contact training options, as well as keeping your gear on to help you adapt to different situations. Fighters will also be less likely to fail pre inspection for fights as a result of injuries picked up during training and sparring.

The benefit of headgear is too great to ignore. It will protect against certain superficial injuries, which may limit your participation in boxing. With headgear, you can reduce head collisions and stay respectable for your workplace. Headgear also offers confidence, which can be a great learning tool. Headgear will also prevent cauliflower ears and perforated ear drums, which makes it a must have piece of equipment for boxing.

What type of headgear is best suited for your needs?

Different combat sports will utilize versatile technique, which means that some headgear options will be limited. How do you determine whether a choice of headgear is just what you are looking for? For competitive boxing, bulkier options will not likely make the cut. The headgear generally features very sleek padding, limited cheek protection and greater emphasis on visibility. The light frame also boosts quick reaction times, allowing you to dodge punches more effortlessly. You may need to explore specific options for specific competitions.

Sparring headgear is designed to offer maximum padded protection, which is a major reason why it is often called face saver headgear. This style of headgear features very heavy duty padding for maximum impact protection. Options will also feature heavy cheek and nose protection, which may work to reduce visibility.

Muay Thai features more prevalent use of your feet and knees, but most boxing headgear will work interchangeably. You should consider additional chin support when looking for Muay Thai headgear. MMA will feature more grappling and wrestling, with the increased prevalence of holds placing specific demands on the headgear. Ideal MMA headgear will firmer, sleeker and feature lighter padding.

Final word

Will boxing headgear keep you safe? Does boxing headgear prevent brain damage? While it offers only limited value against concussions, your boxing headgear will offer some protection to your head and face that could prove invaluable. With the right headgear for your needs, you should be able to engage in safe boxing.