Why Do Football Players Wear Bicep Bands?

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Players on NFL and college football teams wear bicep bands. Bicep bands range in color and size and can be worn on one or both arms. The bands are made from old socks, swatches of stretchy material or athletic tape. Nike and the NFL also have their own lines of logo-endorsed bicep bands.

Function

Athletes wear these bands for a simple reason: vanity. Football and basketball players think the bands make their muscles look bigger. Bicep bands, like wristbands and headbands, also catch and absorb sweat.

Speculation

Bicep bands have no impact on the treatment of bicep pain, despite speculation to the contrary. Biceps tendinopathy, a disorder resulting from repetitive overuse of the bicep tendons, results in inflammation, pain and impaired function. Treatment of tendinopathy consists of reducing the inflammation, swelling and pain through physical therapy and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Despite speculated that bicep bands can help build muscle if worn during weight lifting, no medical proof backs up this claim.

Players

NFL players who wear these bands include New York Giants linebacker Danny Clark, New York Jets defensive end Dave Tollefson and Jets safety Kerry Rhodes. Clark wears his bands well above his elbows. “I’ve got all kinds of biceps and triceps busting out of there. It’s a good look,” he told the New York Times. Tollefson cuts his bands in half to make them skinnier. Rhodes claims that he’s been sporting the bicep bands since he was in high school.

Rules

The National Federation of State High School Associations bans the use of bicep bands. It sees the bands as frivolous and has banned them. High school players are allowed to wear wristbands that are to be no more than 3 inches toward the elbow.

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