Efficacy of thigh protectors in preventing thigh haematomas.

Mitchell B. J Sci Med Sport 2000 Mar;3(1):30-4.

Thigh haematomas are extremely common in Australian Rules Football (ARF). This is in contrast to contact sports overseas, the likely reason is the increased use of thigh protectors as part of team uniforms in contact sports such as American football. Thigh haematomas can have a significant impact on an athlete’s performance, ranging from short term performance impairment, muscle deconditioning and compartment syndromes, to long term problems, such as career threatening myositis ossificans and possibly muscle tears. To assess the efficacy of thigh protectors made for Australian Football, a prospective study was undertaken involving two teams in the elite junior (U 18) VSFL competition in SE Australia. One team wore thigh protectors over the course of the season while the other team acted as controls and did not wear thigh protectors. The control group suffered nine thigh haematomas, while the protected group had none (p<0.01). The possible de-conditioning effect of the haematomas was evidenced by two of the control group suffering torn quadriceps within four weeks of the haematoma. The protectors were generally well tolerated by all but one player, except in hot conditions, when they were uncomfortable.