Why do soccer players wear black masks ? Football, like any other sport, is highly competitive and physical. Apart from these attributes, the beautiful game also has its fair share of razzmatazz and showbiz value.
From jersey design to colored soccer boots as well as hairstyle/color of individual players, this had added extra fan interest and entertainment.
A specific item that has grown in popularity over the years is the mask. In recent times, it has become increasingly common to see soccer players donning masks during matches
Apart from serving as a functional protection for the face of a football player, the aesthetic elements of it have also been incorporated.
While soccer is a sport that traditionally emphasizes open-air play and face-to-face interaction, the emergence of masks on the field has raised questions and piqued curiosity among fans worldwide.
This article aims to shed light on the reasons why soccer players wear masks.
Face Guard or Protective Cover
Football is a contact sport, so it’s not surprising for players to run into or tackle each other.
Unfortunately, due to the physical nature of the game, it has almost become an eventuality that players will get injured.
These injuries vary in severity and type, but the more serious ones can be facial types that involve fractured cheekbones or broken noses.
Many famous players over the years have had to wear this protective equipment.
Chelsea FC players like Petr Cech, John Terry, and Cesc Fabregas, to mention a few, have had to use it at one time or the other.
In some cases, soccer players may wear masks to protect facial injuries sustained during matches.
After recovering from such injuries, players usually wear a special facemask or guard during a match to avoid a re-occurrence of such an injury again.
These injuries can range from fractures to lacerations and often require additional support and protection during the healing process.
For example, despite being declared fit to play after a head injury, the Nigerian striker, Victor Osimhen, continues to wear a mask.
Osimhen suffered an eye socket injury during a Serie A match against Inter on November 22, 2021, which required surgery and a three-month recovery period.
Although he has fully healed, Osimhen chooses to wear the protective mask for an added sense of security during matches.
Another reason why soccer players wear masks is because of the COVID-19 virus.
To curb the spread of the virus, soccer players have been advised to wear masks during pre-match warm-ups, halftime intervals, and post-match interactions.
The football fraternity has been forced to adjust to the present times we live in, with football governing protocols adjusted to include mandatory facemask usage.
There have however, been a few instances of football teams taking to the pitch masked up.
A good example was when the players of Brazilian top league side Gremio took to the field in protest at their governments’ perceived lack of action dealing with the outbreak.
As it continues to look like the Corona virus will live with us well into next year it’s unlikely the football establishment will relax the mandatory face mask protocols.
On a lighter note, a few footballers have been shown wearing costume masks, especially during celebrations after scoring a goal.
The most popular example is that of Arsenal FC’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who sometimes wears the mask of a fictional movie character Black Panther when celebrating a goal.
Another footballer who loves to wear costume masks is Argentinian striker, Julian Álvarez.
The World Cup winner earned the nickname “Spiderman” for his remarkable agility and speed. However, he also loves the famous character.
Why do soccer players wear face masks?
All these soccer players and many more do wear masks, but it’s not for show. These masks serve an important purpose in soccer, protecting players who have sustained facial injuries but are eager to return to the pitch and contribute to their team. New technologies mean that athletes who suffer a severe face injury may return to the field quickly while still appearing like a superhero out for payback.
Trauma to the face is referred to as a facial injury. It might be anywhere on the face, including the chin, nose, ears, eyebrows, or skull. All of the aforementioned areas are potential sites of facial injury for a sportsperson.
Injuries to the face may occur in any of these areas if a player is struck in the face by another player or hits their face on a hard surface. Injuries to the face may be excruciating, thus masks are often used to alleviate the sufferer’s privacy while receiving treatment.
These masks serve to stabilize and protect a vulnerable or injured facial area, such as a laceration. Protecting lacerations, such as those on the chin or lip, or fractures, such as those on the nose or cheekbone, from becoming worse is the most common application for these items. Burn or compression masks, which are larger, may be used to reduce the appearance of scar tissue, make it more manageable, and preserve face grafts.
If further harm is to be avoided to the face, the black mask is put on. Petr Cech was a good illustration of this point. Since he hurt his skull during a bout by striking it on a pole, he never goes without his helmet for protection.
When a player has just sustained an injury to his nasal bone, he may choose to wear the mask to prevent further damage. Demba Ba, another former Chelsea player, is a good example of someone who had to wear a mask while playing due to an injury to his jaw.
After suffering a facial injury while playing, some players choose to use the mask even as a means of recovery. It is intended to compress the facial bones and encourage cementing.
When dealing with a facial fracture, a mask is usually necessary. The bone would eventually heal, and the player would be able to return to action after receiving treatment and being shielded from further damage (by the mask). If the player suffers a severe facial fracture, however, he or she will be forced to wear the face mask for the rest of their life.
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