TL;DR: There's a much larger number of female athletes with breast injuries than you'd expect.
Up until recently little was reported about breast injuries from females participating in sport. Largely this is because there appears to be a “taboo” about talking on this topic. Women may tell their team mates or family, but rarely inform their coaches or team managers – or seek medical advice.
But lately the issue has been reported, and almost 50% of participants in ball and team sports had experienced a breast injury in their sport as reported in these articles....
Nearly 50% of participants had a breast injury during sports activities. Although 18.2% indicated that breast injury affected sports participation, only 9.6% of the injuries were reported to medical personnel with 2.1% receiving treatment.
In a direct survey of female collegiate athletes, the authors of a 2018 study found that breast injuries affected nearly 48% of collegiate basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball athletes in America
So what does this mean?
Well, it reflects greater numbers of women and girls participating in all sorts of sports from soccer, football, rugby, basketball, hockey through to boxing and martial arts. It also reflects greater intensity in female play, which means a hit to the breast may not be unusual when you are committed to your game, or take an accidental impact.
In a focus group debrief at QP Sport some years ago, one of the participants said she had taken many hits to the breasts, but didn't feel rolling around on the ground holding her “boob” and crying ouch was what women did. (Unlike boys when they get hit in the “balls” would roll around and cry, she said!). Basically she just sucked it up and eventually got back into the game. This is an interesting insight, and builds on the “taboo” phenomenon we heard earlier.
Learn more about the impact of breast injuries.
What can women do to prevent breast injury?
Just as you would wear shin protectors playing soccer, you can wear specially designed breast protection for your sport. Modern breast protection is affordable and effective for many sports. QP Sport CoolGuard and MaxiGuard protect either just the breasts, or the entire chest and can be worn undetected under your sports uniform.
Don't be one of the 50% of women that experience a painful hit to your breasts while participating in sport. One of the main benefits of wearing breast protection is actually increased confidence and enjoyment in your sport, as you are not worried about being hit in that area!
See our guide to help choose breast protection for your sort of sport or activity.