Everyone has seen it.  A guy takes a hard hit to the balls in sports and we all groan and think “Wow, I hope he had his athletic cup on”.  

But what about women?  

Certain sports present issues for both sexes. Consider martial arts. Kicking is not only encouraged, it’s required. Both sexes can (and do) get kicked in the groin area accidentally.  Same with sports like hockey, softball/baseball, and anything with a fast moving puck or ball. 

Research has shown that many female athletes do not use pelvic protection, know the options for it, or even if they need it. Women may feel “less exposed” than men, and therefore not at serious risk. In some sports, this is simply flat out wrong. 

Pelvic Protection For Women

Just like a man, a fast moving puck, ball, foot or hand, can land in a woman's genital area. The vagina is very sensitive to impact, but there is one part of the female sexual anatomy that can cause as much or more pain than a man’s testicles. 

Similar to the testicles on a male, the female clitoris is packed with nerves, roughly the same sensitivity as a man’s testicles, yet compacted into a very small surface area.  The size of this area may be one reason women don’t think about the risk as much as men. 

The female version of the “athletic cup” is often called a “pelvic protector”, and some call them a “jill” (as opposed to a man’s “jock”). 

A Woman's cup is normally smaller in overall size, less deep and sometimes much more narrow since it’s protecting a smaller body area. 

They might be less well known but equally important. 

Watch and learn how you can change your game

Ben Thulen
Sports Injury Researcher, United States

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