Why Do Football & Soccer Players Tape Their Wrists?

Football and soccer players can both been seen during games wearing tape on their wrists. Players wear tape on their wrists for a few reasons in which we’re going to highlight throughout this article.

Football players wear tape on their wrists for stability and injury prevention. Football is a contact sport in which players are consistently pushing and pulling each other, tape on the wrist helps protect against wrist injuries.

Players will wear athletic tape on their wrists. This type of tape is typically worn around ankles to add support. For the wrists, it’s no different, this tape is tough for hours and still allows players to be flexible enough to move.

Football & Soccer Players Wearing Tape On Their Wrists

Here’s what the athletic tape on the wrist looks like on an athlete:

Wrist Tape on football players

Wrist Protection

Players wear will athletic tape on their wrists to simply protect their wrists. In soccer, players are often fighting for ball position, pushing and removing their opponent. Wrists, fingers, and other joints can get pinched or bent the wrong way.

The athletic tape will support the player’s wrists, in the case of sudden contact. Soccer players also fall from being slide tackled or getting their shins kicked. When falling, the first reaction is to put the hand down to brace the fall. The wrist can help support any falling action.

Along with general protection from blocking defenders in football, or pushing off another player in soccer, soccer goalies can almost always be seen with wrist tape.

Wrist Tape on football players

The ball traveling at a high velocity will almost always be saved by the goalie’s hands, which directly impacts the wrists. Securing the wrist with athletic tape can help lessen the direct impact taken from the soccer ball.

This is the benefit of having stability on the wrists using the tape. Although it’s not going to completely prevent injuries from happening, it does help relieve and support any joints in the wrist.

Hiding Jewelry

Players will use athletic tape to cover up jewelry or any type of bracelet. Typically, professional leagues do not allow for loose bracelets to be worn, therefore will be asked to be removed. Instead of removing the bracelets ( oftentimes players will elect to keep the bracelets on for superstition reasons), the player will simply tape over the bracelet

This way they can still feel comfortable knowing that they’re wearing the piece of jewelry, but do the referee and the league it just looks like a piece of tape.

For example, players like Gareth Bale has worn a live-strong bracelet his entire career on his wrist. He’ll often wear tape to cover it up from officials. In his mind, however, he knows he’s still wearing it.

Referees will often stop the game, and make players remove any jewelry from their bodies. This is not only for the player’s safety but for the safety of the other players as well.

Wrist jewelry, watches, and other small pieces of jewelry may get caught on other players which can in turn rip or be altered. It’s much safer to just put a small piece of athletic tape over the wrist in order to properly secure the piece of jewelry.

Covering Tattoos

Players will sometimes ( not very often) wear tape to cover up tattoos. Often times a player may have a wrist tattoo that they don’t want showing on a national stage, so therefore they will tape over it.

The tape may be a small, one over the strip that covers up the tattoo or the player may choose to completely hide it by putting it over the entire forearm. Again, it’s completely up to the player and if the club or team has any policies against it.

As mentioned, this doesn’t happen very often but it may for players who want to hide it.

Cosmetic Reasons

Players will wear tape on their wrists simply because it looks good. No medical or jewelry reasoning. If the player enjoys the sport of boxing, they may mentally be preparing themselves for a boxing match where they can safely and securely throw their hands.

Other times players will write the initials of their loved ones or someone that has passed a way. We often see this in college and high school football.

Wrist Tape
Initials on the wrist tape

The mental state matters when wearing tape, especially for players who use it as a piece of equipment to get themselves locked in and in the zone.

This type of wrist taping with the black permanent marker writing on it is often seen at all levels of football and soccer. High school players can often be seen having forearm tape with initials of loved ones or small messages to remind them while they’re playing.

The tape can then be ripped off at the end of the game, and discarded into a trash barrel.

Healing From An Injury

Last, is just healing from an injury. If there was a prior wrist injury, having tape to support the wrist will protect the wrist from bending too far one way or another.

Consult with your team athletic trainer or use the athletic tape found here to make sure the wrist is sustained.

The tape, as mentioned, can provide stability for those that have had wrist injuries in the past. Players with wrist injuries should have trainers tape and make sure there is proper stability. Players don’t have the technique or the right angle to properly tape a wrist for injury purposes. We always recommend you consult with a professional for injury purposes.


Football and soccer players are both know to wear tape on their wrists during games and matches. The tape on the wrist has specific meanings to that player, both aesthetically and for injury prevention.

Players will wear tape on their wrists for wrist protection, protecting tattoos, hiding jewelry, and securing an already possible injury.

Having a piece of tape on the wrist is common among athletes and is all done for a purpose or a reason.

How do you wear your athletic tape? Do you use it for cosmetic reasons or simply to help support a prior injury? Let us know in the comment section below!

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