Fashion or function? Athletes and the popularization of compression garments.
In 2006, NBA player Jerry Stackhouse wore a pair of compression leggings under his shorts to help him get through a nagging groin injury during a long playoff push with the Dallas Mavericks. His decision was met with ridicule and controversy from the league, analysts, and fellow players. It was so controversial the NBA attempted to ban players from wearing them for ruining the aesthetics of the uniform. But Stackhouse was on to something.
Halfway through the next season some of the biggest stars in the game like Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, and Lebron James had become advocates of compression garments. Today a majority of the league wears compression garments, including 80% of the starting lineup in the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors.
What are some of the reasons Stackhouse, his team of trainers, professionals, and athletes of all levels now support the usage of compression? According to studies, the benefits to athletes are positive and measurable on many levels.
Compression applies pressure to veins that help prevent blood from pooling and enhances blood circulation helping prevent potential blood clots. Researchers measured reduced lactic acid buildup, and perceived muscle soreness. Compression enhanced repetitive jump power, core stability, oxygen delivery, and recovery of force production.
Most compression garments can help release excess body heat while keeping muscles warm, allowing air to permeate to the skin, and keeping the user dry by wicking away sweat. Compression garments also provide a layer of protection between skin and the ground, minimizing possible friction burns or scrapes.
Compression garments can help an athlete feel more comfortable and focused on their game. Whether being distracted by a minor injury or unpleasant playing conditions, distractions take away from an athlete’s performance. Some athletes feel more confident knowing that they are taking preventative measures to take care of their bodies. And maybe a player does just like the way it looks, and as the saying goes, “look good, play good”.
We may not all be athletes playing at an elite level, but we can still benefit from the usage of compression garments and devices. For patients recovering from surgeries, the usage of mechanical compression devices are instrumental in helping prevent potentially fatal blood clots known as DVTs from forming. For minor pains and strains, medical professionals use the R.I.C.E. method to help patients recover.
Visit our website to learn more about we are using compression to help patients recover.
Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons