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Should I remove a football player's equipment if he may have a neck injury?

Only the face mask should be removed when a football player is thought to have a neck injury. Taking off the helmet and shoulder pads may cause a lot of motion. Getting the facemask out of the way makes it possible to help the patient breathe. If the whole helmet is removed because it's not well-fitted, then the shoulder pads must also be taken off so that the head and neck are in line with the rest of the body.

(This answer provided for NATA by the University of Alabama Athletic Training Education Program.)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.