Often seen in pre-fight press sparring sessions professional fighters use so called “facesaver” protectors for training. They are rather bulky protectors with a static bar across the face. Facesavers are worn by competitive athletes with extremely great conditioning who want to avoid facial injuries during the last days of sparring ahead of a big money fight. They are more show-off than effective training tools since the sparring is very light at that stage of preparations. They are used to assure the betting community of the fight taking place.
The facebar helps to avoid direct hits to nose and eyes. That’s all it is made for. If a fighter is hit with angular punches or uppercuts the impact is far stronger on the head than without wearing gear. Serious injuries may just occur because of wearing such a facesaver head guard. Its immense size and static structure increase the leverage against spine and skull. The risk of head injuries and brain trauma is heavily increased in fighters being hit with hard blows while wearing a facesaver helmet. When hit with an uppercut the fighter’s head snaps back much stronger as the added surface and weight create an unnaturally strong force of acceleration inside the skull. Sideward impacts follow the same increase in leverage causing rotational forces to the head that increase the exposure of the brain to severe injuries. Another negative influence of importance is the facesaver’s limitation of vision with huge blind spots rendering practitioners defenseless.
In essence: If worn by untrained fighters facesaver helmets are dangerous and may cause structural damage to the neck, head and heavy trauma to the brain. Fractures of the spine, paralysis and brain damage are increased possibilities.
As an alternative full face protectors and face masks attached to training helmets are an reasonable alternative to so called facesavers.
Manufacturers of facesaver protectors include Winning, Ringside and Twins among others.