In an incident of odd serendipity, Happy Medic has posted about something I've been thinking about. Close enough to it, anyway.
Go read his post titled Man Up NFL- Ditch the Helmets.
Interesting idea that seems counter-intuitive on the face of it.
But I agree.
I've seen this in a number of different situations. When faced with a possibility of injury during some physical activity, people throw "protective equipment" at it, instead of focusing on increasing the skill level of the people involved.
It's not that protective equipment is, in and of itself, a bad thing.
It's when people start to believe that the equipment allows them to take MORE risks, rather than helping them to take LESS risk, that there is a problem.
You are most in danger when you believe yourself to be safe.
For example, no firefighter would ever believe that he or she could go right into a fire, as long as they are wearing their turnout gear, right? Right?
Remember that safety is the responsibility of the people involved, and the skill, attention and focus of those people will always contribute more to safety than any equipment can ever do.
Use safety equipment as much as possible- but don't let it lull you into believing it can ever make anything "safe."