Youth: Why Chest Protection in Footy Shouldn't Go Ignored
Apr 19, 2021
Men wear protective girdles to protect their “jewels” for obvious reasons. On that note, women should also wear chest protection - for obvious reasons. Breast injuries are not to be taken lightly in soccer (or in any sport for that matter) since they can cause significant discomfort, pain and complications.
Fortunately, chest protection is often all a woman needs to prevent injuries of the breast while on the pitch. This post will take a further look at the importance of chest protection for women and how the right gear can reduce the risk of breast injuries.
Miseries of Breast Injuries for Athletes
Breast injuries can arise from many causes including bumping into hard objects, or repetitive movements that can irritate the region, especially in the absence of a sports bra.
In soccer, a woman may sustain a breast injury from being hit in the area by an elbow or from falling face-down to the ground after an aerial challenge. Unfortunately, these injuries are underreported by many women who play soccer (and other sports) yet they’re surprisingly common.
A 2018 study found that breast injuries affect up to 48% of collegiate basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball players across the United States. And in women’s rugby, as many as 58% of women in the Australian Football League (AFL) have sustained a breast injury that was serious enough to hamper their performance. Yet still, AFL league staff members estimated less than 5% of players were affected. It’s fair game to say that soccer may have a similar disconnect.
It goes without saying that these injuries are unpleasant. Breast injuries sustained from hard impacts or contact in sports can lead to a number of painful and uncomfortable symptoms.
Breast Injury Symptoms
- Pain and tenderness - The most immediate and recognized symptom of a breast injury is pain in the breast. You may feel the pain immediately after the impact or it may creep up on you days later.
- Bruising (Contusions) - Swelling and bruising of the breast usually follows after a hit or impact, and they’re often quite noticeable. They may even appear before the onset of pain.
- Lumps/fat necrosis - Although a lump in the breast can be scary, lumps and fat necrosis after an injury are non-cancerous. Nevertheless, the appearance of these red, dimpled or bruised masses are a sign of breast injury that requires some treatment. They may or may not cause pain.
- Hematomas - A hematoma is a build up of blood at the site of the trauma. They leave behind an area of discoloured skin that resembles a bruise, and they may take as long as 10 days to appear.
Other scarring and discoloration may appear depending on one’s skin type, or if they have a pre-existing condition that increases scarring.
The Importance of Addressing Breast Injuries Before or After They Occur
It’s important to treat breast injuries sooner than later because they can bring along some unwanted complications. This is more so true for women soccer players who are planning to have kids or are already nursing mothers of young children. Untreated breast injuries can make breastfeeding more painful. Also, the presence of a lump or mass can make routine screenings more difficult and complicated since they can be misinterpreted or lead doctors to interpret results. The most serious complication of a breast injury, however, involves hematomas since they can bleed excessively which on rare occasions become medical emergencies.
But the good news is this: breast injuries are usually easy to treat, easy to prevent and rarely lead to complications. They usually resolve over the course of days and weeks, and respond to simple at-home treatments such as ice packs, OTC painkillers and topical analgesics. If pain and bruising persists or gets worse, then a doctor’s visit is warranted.
The main issue with breast injuries is that they’re painful and uncomfortable. And if you’re busy with practices and tourneys, the last thing you want is to get sidelined because of this injury. That’s where chest protection comes in.
Women’s Soccer Protective Gear Can Address Breast Injuries
All women who play soccer should make chest protection a priority. It doesn’t matter your age, body type, or level of experience - breast injuries can affect you. But women’s soccer protective gear can reduce impacts to the breast, and by extension, injuries that may follow. The most effective piece of protective gear at your disposal is a padded crop top. They’re built for comfort and performance, so that you can withstand chest impacts without feeling weighed-down on the pitch.
Take a look at this BodyShield crop top of ours, for example.
It’s armored with XRD® technology, and reduces the impact forces of hits (ie. player-to-player, ball-to-player contact) of the ribs and chest, absorbing up to 90% of impact. That means a normally-damaging strike to chest breast hits with far less force, and you won’t sustain bruises or cuts.
It also comes with additional injury-prevent features such as abrasion-resistant panels so that a turf slide (on your stomach) doesn’t injure you either.
Take Chest Protection in Soccer to Heart
We’ve discussed the importance of head injury prevention at length, as well as other injuries such as ACL tears because of their severity. Although these injuries tend to get far more recognition, “forgotten” ones such as breast injuries deserve your attention too.
They can cause enough pain and discomfort to slow you down and take you out of the game completely. With that right protective gear such as our padded crop top, you can spare yourself from the nuisance of breast injuries and the discomfort they bring.
Looking for chest protection to prevent nagging breast injuries in soccer? Browse through our selection of women’s protective gear to find padded crop tops and more.