Preventing Breast Injuries In Sport – What You Need To Know

A hit to the breasts hurts, as any women who has suffered this will tell you. Of course any hard impact to the body can cause pain but some parts of the body are more sensitive than others.

The breasts are composed of mainly fatty tissue, mammary glands and muscle. The muscle is deep, so cannot provide much help in supporting the breast. The support needs to come from a proper support bra.

The main injuries affecting breasts are:

  • Repetitive trauma caused by constant movement and bouncing whilst exercising
  • A direct blow to the breast causing a contusion

Repetitive trauma injury

Exercise such as running causes the breasts to move up and down and side to side. This not only causes pain but will result in permanent stretching of the Coopers ligaments resulting in drooping breasts. Coopers ligaments help hold the breasts up. These are thin bands interwoven into the breast and are not very strong. If the breasts are not supported properly then repetitive bouncing from running can stretch the ligaments permanently.

Wearing the correct sports bra will give you support and prevent vertical movement as well as side to side movement.

Direct blows to the breast

Breast injuries can result in a breast contusion (bruises), pain, and tenderness. These symptoms usually heal on their own after a few days. For many women the real issue is that an injury can take you out of the game and can decrease confidence and enjoyment in your sport.

In a study carried out by QP Sport and Sheffield-Hallam University, one of the surprising results was that women often “suck it up” when they are hit in the breast and experience pain.

Women told us they don’t want to make a big deal of being hit in the breasts and let others watching the game see them hurt in that area. A recent US study showed that 47% of college girls participating in sports reported suffering a breast injury. Only 2% used breast protection.

What a hit to the breasts can do

Apart from pain, a hit to the breast can cause bruising, lumps and hematoma to form. It is not widely thought that breast impact injuries can lead to breast cancer, although one study did find a link. A breast injury can result in a lump known as fat necrosis and this may take some time to disappear. A hematoma may also develop around where the trauma occurred. If you have a persistent lump or pain in your breast seek medical advice.

Why you should use breast protection.

Apart from not getting hurt in the breasts, the biggest reason is that using a well-made breast protector gives you confidence to be the best you can in your game. Some girls call their breast protectors their “secret weapons” because they can’t be noticed under a sports uniform and allow them to attack their sport with confidence.

Breast and chest protectors are considered as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and thus must meet certain standards just like safety glasses and hard cap boots must. These standards are specific to breast and chest protection which means you can depend on your breast protector to protect you. Be sure your breast protector meets CE standards.

Breast and chest protectors are no longer bulky layers worn outside of your sports gear.

Modern breast and chest protection that meets relevant standards is sleek, anatomically correct and comfortable, and is worn under your sports gear in place of a sports bra unable to be detected. Because the breast protection encapsulates breasts, it is also very supportive, in fact QP Sport CoolGuard performed considerably better than leading sports bras during testing at the University of Portsmouth.

Modern breast protectors often use a specially designed sports bra with a double fabric pocket over the chest area into which the plastic breast protector elements are inserted. This means there is no skin contact with the plastic protector.

There is no downside to breast protection

Although some women may notice a slight reduction in upper body twisting mobility, a good quality breast protector is made to be lightweight and comfortable, and will use top quality textiles like QP Sport MaxiGuard and CoolGuard ranges. Yes, there is a cost to purchase, but usually no more than a mid-range sports bra, and many women wear their chest or breast protector in place of a sports bra. What you will appreciate is the confidence you have gained!