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England's football-in-bras extravaganza puts breast health in the spotlight

When they took to the field to face Germany in the Euro Cup final on Sunday, England's women's national football team received not only national support, but a specially designed support. rice field. A sports bra selected in consultation with scientists.

It may have remained a hidden secret weapon, but that the now-iconic bra-baring celebration took place after Chloe Kelly scored the winning goal. became a national topic in newspapers and on airwaves, and sales increased significantly. into a sports bra.

"Cups and Trophies: How Bras Inspired Players to Fit Finale," read one headline in The Guardian. "Now take your sports bra home," read another article in The Times about the British soccer anthem Three Lions (It's Coming Home)

Department store John Lewis reported a 130% increase in searches for sports bras following the moment of triumph, with sales of sports bras up 15% from the previous week.

His 1999 was probably the last time the sports bra had such an important moment in football. That's when United States player Brandy Chastain threw off his jersey after scoring the winning goal against China in the World Cup final. 

In fact, Chastain tweeted to her English counterpart on Sunday.

US soccer star Brandi Chastain celebrated the winning goal with England forward Chloe Kelly ripping off his shirt. Later, he tweeted like Chastain did.. at the 1999 World Cup. (brandichastain/Twitter)

Much has been said about the iconic moment of bra-wearing jubilation, but women's breast health also is spotlighted.

"I think this is absolutely great because we spend a lot of time raising awareness about this important area of ​​women's health."Breasts at the University of Portsmouth health.

Wakefield-Scurr's team said after the Football Association learned that she had previously worked with Olympians, she consulted with the Lioness before the tournament to find out what would be best for her job. Made it possible to find a bra.

"What we found when working with Olympians was that sports bras have performance benefits," she said.

Improve Performance

Wakefield-Scurr has studied the effects of breasts on athletic performance for 17 years. Part of the methodology included having athletes exercise braless to obtain a baseline of tissue movement, then repeating the activity using different sports bras to see how different models improved performance.

Joanna Wakefield-Scurr's research group on breast health at the University of Portsmouth, UK. work with the women's team to improve their performance on the field. (CBC)

In the professor's lab, athletes run on treadmills without bras while sensors record tissue movements. These exercises are repeated in different sports bras, and researchers are studying how different bras create or restrict movement and alter stress on the body.

Commercial sports bras have been around for quite some time. The ``for jogging'' bra was developed in 1977 by two women in New Jersey who sewed two jock her straps together. However, the importance of bras in soccer and the application of technology to improve bras and better meet women's needs are recent developments.

"For example, [a sports bra] improves her mechanics when running. It can improve her breathing rate and lower her heart rate, so she can be more efficient," she says. says Wakefield-Scurr. “We saw a decrease in muscle activity, so it actually helps reduce fatigue during sports activities.

See |

This video shows indices of breast movement recorded at the University of Portsmouth, UK Support impacts athletic performance.

According to her, the wrong sports bra makes balance and muscle tension more difficult, and reduces breast tissue and weight. Repositioning can change the dynamics of the body, altering the player's center of gravity and force they work harder.

"How should breast tissue be repositioned, where There are many competing implications from a performance standpoint in terms of whether it should be placed and how it should be supported," Wakefield-Skar said.

Impressive, I discovered that compression top bras commonly worn by soccer players may not be the best model for this sport.

"By compressing the breast tissue toward the chest wall, it joins the left and right breasts and minimizes movement  … creating a heavier mass in the chest," says Wakefield-Scurr.

Instead, this study shows that bras that encapsulate each breast separately can help athletes improve exercise efficiency.

" This is a huge benefit."

In an email to CBC News, the Football Association said it is prioritizing efforts on the health and performance of female athletes and has many projects to support. . England's women's team. Each Lioness underwent an individual sports bra evaluation alongside a research group to find the best bra for health, comfort and performance. 

He said he intends to continue to use new technologies that benefit players both internally and externally.

EastOn her London field, Olivia, a 21-year football veteran and head of women's development at her club Layton, her Orient I know from her experience the impact on

Olivia Worsfold, who has been playing the sport for 21 years, says it's good to see science applied to women's football I say that. (Lauren Sproule/CBC)

``You look really uncomfortable. [Some people] start to be shy," she said. "And you're not acting, are you?" Fold is thrilled to see science applied to women's football.

"We've been using them on our boots for years — [men's star David] Beckham was famous for having extra detail on his boots, wasn't he? Women of Science We're actively using it in our performances. It's very good.

British football veteran Olivia Worsfold once said that some women wore bras She said she felt ashamed because she couldn't wear a bra, got proper breast support, and stopped exercising.

Worsfold explains the science of sports bras. The national emphasis on , says it could open doors for women with large breasts, who often struggled to find support and may have quit team sports.

"It's an embarrassing situation, isn't it? It's like... 'I can't run. It's disgusting.' So instead of trying to solve the problem, you just avoid it," she said. rice field.

"But now it's out there and it's no longer a shame. As you know, women have breasts and they take care of them just like the rest of their bodies. To make sure you're taking care of your breasts, Worthfold said:

Wakefield-Scurr said Chloe Kelly's victory celebrations weren't sexualized. I am thrilled with the increased awareness of sports bra technology, which is seen as empowering and unencumbered.

For 17% of women, we found breasts to be a barrier to movement," she said.

Wakefield-Scurr hopes that with the Lioness sporting the spotlight on her bra, things will change for some women.