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It's hard to guess how seriously 49ers' quarterback Alex Smith might have been injured by Seahawks' Rocky Bernard's considerable bulk had he not been protected by shoulder pads during the pounding sack of 2007. While football shoulder pads won't completely protect you from injuries to the head, neck, shoulders and ribs, they do absorb the lion's share of impact shock and distribute it over a larger area, reducing the pressure at the impact site. Smith suffered tears to both ligaments that attach his right shoulder blade to his collarbone, but shoulder pads spared him a head or neck injury and a concussion. Size your shoulder pads correctly for comparable performance.
Weigh yourself and record the weight.
Wrap a flexible tape measure around the largest part of your chest at the top of your torso, under the armpits to determine your chest size. Ask someone to take your measurements for you if you find it too awkward to do by yourself. Record the measurement.
Measure the distance across the back from the left end of the left shoulder bone to the right end of the right shoulder bone to get the shoulder width. Round the measurement off to the nearest half-inch and record the figure.
Compare your measurements to shoulder pad packaging to determine correct sizing. Some manufacturers retail pads by inches, while others express sizes as Small through Extra-Large. Youth shoulder pad sizes are usually determined by chest size and weight, typically ranging from 2X Small (24вЂќ to 26вЂќ chest, 40 to 60 pounds) through X Large (34вЂќ to 36вЂќ chest, 110 to 140 pounds. Adult sizes are expressed in back measurements, ranging from Medium (17вЂќ to 18вЂќ) through 5X Large (24вЂќ up).
Put on a T-shirt and put the shoulder pads on over it. The pads should completely cover your sternum and collarbone without pressing against your neck in the front. The deltoid pads should cover the outer edges of the shoulder bones on each side. The shoulder blades should be completely covered in the back.
Fasten the elastic straps under your arms and adjust them until they don't shift out of place. You should be able to fit two fingers between the straps and your skin.
Stretch your arms out to the sides, then in front of you. Move around briskly to make sure that the shoulder pads are snug, but not tight enough to restrict your breathing or any of your torso movements. Raise your arms straight up. The neck rolls shouldn't touch your skin. Have someone give the top of the shoulder pads a sharp rap. You shouldn't feel any pain.