Why Footballers Wear Tape On Their Arms During Games

By Anthony K February 20, 2024

When it comes to football, particularly during events like Super Bowl LVIII, the sight of players donning tape on their arms may pique curiosity among spectators. This tape, extending from the triceps to the wrist, serves a crucial purpose beyond mere aesthetic or fashion statement: it’s a strategic measure to combat turf burns.

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Referred to as kinesiology tape or colloquially known as “turf tape,” this adhesive bandage is a game-changer for players looking to mitigate the risks of abrasions and injuries on the field. Its primary function lies in shielding athletes from turf burns, those painful skin abrasions that result from contact with the rough surface during tackles, drives, or falls.

The elasticity of kinesiology tape not only aids in maintaining the natural alignment of muscles but also provides therapeutic benefits by alleviating pressure on irritated tissues. According to Jaclyn Smulofsky, PT, DPT, a physical therapist at HSS, this specialized tape can facilitate underactive muscles, inhibit overactive muscles, and even reduce sensitivity to pain by stimulating the skin.

Beyond its therapeutic properties, the adhesive quality of the tape acts as a protective barrier against the abrasive nature of artificial turf. Unlike natural grass, artificial turf, despite its increasing prevalence in football fields, poses a heightened risk of turf burns due to its rough texture. Moreover, these abrasions can potentially lead to infections if left untreated, making preventive measures imperative for player safety and well-being.

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Even with considerable investments made in cultivating high-quality grass for events like the Super Bowl, the advent of artificial turf underscores the persistent need for protective gear like kinesiology tape. Whether it’s synthetic or natural, the unforgiving nature of football fields necessitates proactive steps to safeguard players against potential harm.

In essence, the application of tape on footballers’ arms transcends mere aesthetics; it’s a calculated move aimed at enhancing performance and minimizing injury risks in a sport where physicality reigns supreme.