Research on the prevalence of breast injuries in female athletes is sparse. The negative effects from blunt force trauma to the breast outside of sports participation are well documented.
The objective of this study was to report the prevalence, reporting, impact on participation, and the percentage of individuals with a breast injury who received treatment in the French Feminine Professional Basketball League.
A cross-sectional study of female athletes from 6 professional basketball teams in France was conducted during the 2020-2021 season. All athletes listed on the team rosters were invited to participate. An electronic questionnaire was distributed to this sample of convenience. The questionnaire was validated by 3 experts in survey research methodology.
Participants completed a 12-question electronic questionnaire that included demographic information and questions about breast injuries sustained during participation in basketball.
Fifty-eight athletes participated in the study for an 87.9% response rate. Nearly one-third of the athletes reported a breast injury. Five athletes reported having 3 or more separate breast injuries. Four athletes missed practice and/or competition due to the breast injury. Only 6 athletes reported their injury to a medical professional.
This first study on breast injuries in professional women's basketball athletes has demonstrated that breast injuries during sports occur. Most injuries are not reported or treated. Communication needs to be enhanced regarding the reporting and treatment of breast injuries. A standard of care needs to be established. The extent of potential sequelae that exist needs further research.