Your Body Guards (Part 2)
Not all protective sports gear lives up to its promise, says Cynthia Bir, Ph.D., lead scientist for FSN’s Sport Science. Navigate hype and conflicting claims with this primer.
Claim: When used under eyes, it improves ability to see contrast.
Reality: Yale researchers found that the grease increases the eyes’ sensitivity to contrast. A similar product, adhesive “antiglare” stickers, did not. Still, there’s no official word on whether the improvement significantly affects performance.
Claim: The exterior disperses impact by radiating it outward instead of simply cushioning a hit.
Reality: It’s true, and you don’t need a fancy one. “Any chest protector or shin pad with a hard outer shell and foam padding underneath will distribute force and reduce initial impact,” says Bir.
Claim: They improve muscle efficiency. Some manufacturers claim that the wraps help conserve power, boost endurance, or promote bloodflow.
Reality: “Shooter sleeves are great for keeping your arms warm, and that’s it,” says Dr. McKeag. “This is the modern-day version of snake oil.”
Claim: It’s supposed to transfer impact to your pubic bone so you can sustain a blow to your boys.
Reality: Bir’s lab pitted the NuttyBuddy against an air cannon and measured the distribution of force. The cup’s shape spread the blow better than some grade-school cups.
Image from Stockxchange
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