Original Article

Breast Injuries in Female Collegiate Basketball, Soccer, Softball and Volleyball Athletes: Prevalence, Type and Impact on Sports Participation


  • Laura J. Smith
  • Tamara D. Eichelberger
  • Edward J. Kane

Received Date: 11.08.2017 Accepted Date: 17.11.2017 Eur J Breast Health 2018;14(1):46-50


In 2015-2016, over 214,000 female athletes competed at the collegiate level in the United States (U.S.). The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) collects injury data; however, breast-related injuries do not have a specific reporting category. The exact sequelae of breast injury are unknown; however, a relationship between breast injury and fat necrosis, which mimics breast carcinoma, is documented outside of sports participation. Breast injuries related to motor vehicle collisions, seatbelt trauma, and blunt trauma have been reported. For these reasons, it is important to investigate female breast injuries in collegiate sports. The objectives of this study are to report the prevalence of self-reported breast injuries in female collegiate athletes, explore injury types and treatments, and investigate breast injury reporting and impact on sports participation.

Materials and Methods:

A cross-sectional study of female collegiate athletes at four U.S. universities participating in basketball, soccer, softball, or volleyball. Main outcome measure was a questionnaire regarding breast injuries during sports participation.


Almost half of the 194 participants (47.9%) reported a breast injury during their collegiate career, less than 10% reported their injury to health personnel with 2.1% receiving treatment. Breast injuries reported by breast injuries reported by sport include softball (59.5%), basketball (48.8%), soccer (46.7%), and volleyball (34.6%).


The long-term effects and sequelae of breast injuries reported by female collegiate athletes during sport play are unknown. Nearly 50% of participants had a breast injury during sports activities. Although 18.2% indicated that breast injury affected sports participation, only 9.6% of the injuries were reported to medical personnel with 2.1% receiving treatment.

Keywords: Chest injury, breast trauma, sport injury