List of Padded Contact Sports A-Z

List of Padded Contact Sports

Padded contact sports are sports in which athletes engage in physical contact with one another while wearing protective gear, such as padding, armor, and helmets. There are many different types of padded contact sports, all with different objectives and equipment. Certain padded contact sports are games of teamwork and strategy, such as American football, while others, such as fencing, involve physical combat between two opponents, even bringing in weapons like swords.

What unites padded contact sports into a single category is the use of protective padding. In these high-contact sports, various types of padding are used to prevent injury and soften the force of opponents striking each other. Most padded contact sports make use of shoulder padding, which protects the shoulders and chest area, and many also include helmets or face masks to protect the head and eyes from strong blows. This type of protective equipment keeps athletes safe but is constantly being improved to prevent more types of injury. 

Padded Contact Sports List A to Z


What are padded contact sports?

Padded contact sports are sports where athletes wear protective equipment of some kind, usually gloves, shoulder, leg, and head padding. Many of these sports require athletes to wear padded equipment due to the intense nature of their play, which often involves physical contact that could cause injury to an unprotected player. There are various forms of padded contact sports, and all of them have different rules and equipment.

Some of the most popular padded contact sports are American football, boxing, fencing, and karate. American football is one of the most popular professional sports in the world and is known for its extensive padding, which includes a heavy-duty helmet with a face mask, mouthguards, shoulder pads, and padding for the upper legs. Boxing is another popular sport, where athletes wear thick, padded gloves to blunt the force of their punches, as well as headgear and body pads at lower levels of the sport. In fencing, athletes wear a padded bodysuit with a face mask to prevent stray blows of the fencing sword from injuring their face or body. Finally, some practitioners of karate wear pads on their bodies and heads to protect them from opponents’ strikes. 

Which padded contact sports are in the Olympics?

Some padded contact sports which are played at the Olympic Games include boxing, fencing, ice hockey, and, in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, karate. Athletes who participate in these padded contact sports wear similar equipment at the Olympics as they do in their standard leagues. Boxers wear padded gloves, and fencers wear bodysuits with protective face masks. In ice hockey, players wear heavy pads and helmets to protect their eyes and face, while goalies wear additional pads to aid them in defending goals. Finally, in karate, Olympic athletes often wear protective gloves and foot protection.

Are padded contact sports dangerous?

Padded contact sports can be dangerous, but the central reason for wearing pads in these sports is to prevent injury and keep athletes safe. Padded equipment undergoes constant testing and updates to ensure that it provides maximum protection to athletes while also allowing them to play their sports effectively. No amount of padding is perfect at preventing injury, and in many contact sports, such as American football, serious injuries can still occur from time to time. Nonetheless, padded equipment is generally effective at reducing injury to athletes and is always being studied and improved to provide further safety.