• Wunching Chang
  • Ali Seireg
  • Heather Ladd
Keywords: pilot study, athletic supportive wear, women sports, sports bras


INTRODUCTION: A study was conducted to investigate some of the discomfort women experienced with athletic supportive wear (sports bras) while playing soccer. Players from a recreational women's soccer league were surveyed. The objective of the survey was to identify specific biomechanical problems female soccer players encountered during the game with their supportive wear. This investigation was conducted as a pilot study for a full-scale analysis of discomfort caused by the design of women's supportive wear. METHODS: Questionnaires were distributed to 35 players in a recreational women's soccer league in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A.. The respondents were asked to identify discomfort they encountered while playing soccer with regular and athletic supportive wear. The return rate was 40 % with 14 returned surveys. The ages, heights, weights, bust sizes, and cup sizes (converted to the difference between bust size and circumference of the trunk beneath the breasts) of the respondents are shown in Table 1. RESULTS: The major discomfort reported by respondents who had played soccer in regular supportive wear were lack of support (50%), heat (33%), excessive perspiration (33%), and friction on the skin (22%). For playing soccer in athletic supportive wear, 5 respondents (25.71%) reported no discomfort; the others listed the following as the major discomfort: heat (57%), excessive perspiration (36%), excessive tightness (28%), and friction on the skin (14%). CONCLUSIONS: Athletic supportive appeared to improve the support of the breasts for female recreational soccer players in this survey. The wearers’ breasts ‘bounced’ less. However, the supportive wear also increased the discomfort caused by the accumulation of body heat. Excessive perspiration and friction on the skin remained problematic. Furthermore, excessive tightness became a new discomfort for some players. The data collected in the study may serve as a source for detailed biomechanical studies and complete analysis of the discomfort caused by athletic supportive wear worn by female athletes in different sports.
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