Before protective equipment can be adopted as an effective sports safety intervention, its protective effects in reducing the incidence and severity of injury need to be demonstrated, Importantly, it also needs to be well accepted by the players. The Australian Football Injury Prevention Project (AFIPP) was a large scale community-based randomised controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of headgear and mouthguards in preventing head/neck/dental injuries in Australian Football. A subcomponent of this study was to assess the extent to which community football players complied with the requirement to wear protective headgear and/or mouthguards, as this equipment is not compulsory in this sport. Three hundred and one community football players from 23 teams were randomly allocated to one of three protective equipment intervention arms or one control arm. Protective equipment usage was measured by a primary data collector at each training and game session during the 2001 playing season. Mouthguard use was higher than headgear use, with the highest usage for both being measured during games rather than training. Although many players use mouthguards, particularly in games, most do not wear headgear. Given the low adoption of headgear, other strategies to prevent head injuries need further investigation.