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Arm Bands Worn By Football Players

September 25, 2009

As I was watching some football with the hubby, the same question I have been asking for the last two years popped into my head once again.  “What are those rubber bands on the football players arms for?”  I’m not referring to the sweat band, but rather the skinny bands between the elbow and the shoulder.


I searched the web and found several different theories.

  1. They are used to collect sweat.
  2. To prevent tearing of the ligaments.
  3. Take strain off muscles.
  4. So the quarterback can spot receivers.
  5. No purpose other than if players look good they will play good.

Those theories were all so inconsistent.  The more I read the more I realized that no one really knew what the bands were used for.  I had to keep searching. Finally, I found an explanation on Answerbag that made sense.

They are not for sweat, that is a great mis-conception. A great majority are made of latex rubber which is quite the opposite of a sweat band. Also they are not made to slide like a terry cloth sweat band would.
In actuality, the bands were originally being worn under recommendation of the sports medicine teams for both NFL & Big 10 schools about 10 years ago in aid to help prevent tendinitis. It never actually worked effectively for that because the bands would need to be applied very tight almost like a tourniquet to provide counter-traction and prevent inflammation. So they were then discontinued.
However, during their use, as more and more of the players began to wear them, they actually became a focal point for the quarterback to see the receivers arms. So coaches began advising their use again. If you observe closely, you will see that it is mostly the offensive receivers that wear them now as focal points. Plus they are now the “in-thing” like tattoo’d biceps so a lot of it is just for show these days.

I guess all the theories are true to some extent.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Kathleen permalink
    September 27, 2009 12:15 pm

    Fabulous answer Nancy… you get the Golden Apple Award!

  2. nancyk5000 permalink*
    September 28, 2009 6:29 am

    Thanks Kathleen, not knowing what those bands were for was driving me crazy.

  3. Ste[hanie permalink
    January 1, 2010 9:23 pm

    OMG thank you for answering that question. Was making me crazy too! Seems to me they’d only be good for cutting off circulation

  4. Darreon permalink
    January 9, 2010 9:02 pm

    Do you have any idea where you could purchase the bands?

  5. tede11 permalink
    August 7, 2010 6:07 pm

    they dont help qbs see u at all they just look good. qbs dont need to see a recievers arms as much as the numbers or helmet

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