The History of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Sports

breast cancer awareness socks

Did you know that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime? That statistic is so significant that there is a high chance you may know someone who has battled the disease. Maybe you’re a survivor yourself. So what’s a great way to help support the ones we love? Getting the word out through breast cancer awareness socks and other apparel is a great start.

Breast cancer awareness overlaps with sports in a few important ways. First, being physically fit can help reduce a woman’s chances of getting breast cancer. Second, sports teams can use their platform to promote awareness about prevention and treatment.

Professional teams have been officially acknowledging Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October for many years. From wearing pink breast cancer awareness socks to holding fundraisers, players across multiple sports, from the WNBA to the NFL, are involved.

Here’s what you need to know about the history of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in sports and how breast cancer awareness socks let your own team take part.

WNBA Support for Breast Cancer Awareness

A league of female champions was among the first to dedicate a month to Breast Cancer Awareness. The WNBA was founded in 1996, and by 2001, they were doing their part to raise money for the cause.

The league partnered with Sears the first year to raise funds for the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations (NABCO). Along with partnerships, each team hosted a Breast Cancer Awareness Night, released public service announcements, and held fundraisers. A minimum of $1 million was committed to the cause.

Today, the WNBA holds Breast Cancer Awareness Games in August as a part of WNBA Fit Month. In addition to wearing breast cancer awareness socks and other merchandise, the teams hold online auctions to raise money for research.

The league also offers an online tool to assess your risk for breast and ovarian cancers, and has helped nearly 10,000 people receive a free assessment so far.

MLB Swings Big for Cancer Research

Professional baseball players have also been in the breast cancer awareness game for a while. Since 2001, in fact. By 2005, the league was letting fans donate money for every strikeout leading up to Mother’s Day, with proceeds going to breast cancer charities.

By 2006, MLB teams used pink bats on Mother’s Day to raise awareness about breast cancer and auctioned them off afterward to raise money. Since the league became a partner of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in 2004, the MLB’s efforts have raised $1.4 million via the sale of special breast cancer awareness gear. 

Today, you can buy breast cancer awareness merchandise (including pink bats and special baseballs) from the league. Part of the proceeds go to supporting breast cancer prevention and treatment.

NFL History of Breast Cancer Awareness Support

Professional football entered the arena to help raise awareness about breast cancer in 2009. Players and coaches dress in everything from pink gloves to pink breast cancer awareness socks on the field and the sidelines. Their attire is paired with fundraising efforts to support local charities and related organizations.

Since 2012, the league also gave healthcare centers in all 32 NFL team markets money, via something called the CHANGE grant, to increase access to everything from breast cancer screenings to early detection programs. In the first four years of the grant program, about 120,000 cancer screenings were funded by the program.

As of 2018, the NFL is opened up its cancer awareness support to include other types of the illness. Teams can still support breast cancer through the month of October, but they can also shine a light on another form of cancer. In other words, Breast Cancer Awareness Month has opened the door to highlighting prevention and research for not only breast cancer, but other causes as well.

How Your Youth Team Can Get Involved

You may not have the platform of a national football, basketball, baseball, or soccer team – but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference in your local community. Youth teams around the country can help their local healthcare centers, too. From encouraging fans to get screened to donating money, you might be surprised how easy it is to have a significant impact.

Here are just a few ideas for getting involved with the history of athletics and philanthropy:

  • Wear breast cancer awareness socks during gameplay. This starts a conversation and shows support for people in the stands who are affected by breast cancer.
  • Couple your new attire with a fundraiser. Is there a local breast cancer screening center in your area that could use some funds? Maybe a state-wide charity that offers free prevention care would appreciate a donation. Get people to donate money per score or solicit one-time donations.
  • Keep efforts up all year long. Mentioning Breast Cancer Awareness Month is great, but what can you do in the offseason or during other months? Even if your team doesn’t play in October, there is never a bad time to hold a fundraiser or encourage your fans to get screened.

MadSportsStuff: A One-Stop-Shop for Breast Cancer Awareness Socks

If a part of your game plan is to rock pink ribbon gear, we have you covered. From pink ribbon crew socks to black and pink over the calf socks, you can stock up on footwear that supports breast cancer awareness.

MadSportsStuff offerings work perfectly as breast cancer awareness softball socks, baseball socks, soccer socks, track socks, football socks, and more. We can even customize a set of bright pink socks that have each player’s number on the back. Place your order today, and your team will be ready to rock their new cause-related look in no time. Have questions? Reach out so we can help you place the perfect order.