As participation in women’s sport, and in particular the football codes, soars to new heights in Australia, Bond University has partnered with a Queensland company to develop cutting edge protective body armour designed specifically for the female body.
Fempro Armour uses patented impact absorption technology to reduce the force of contact to vulnerable areas identified in extensive research into common injuries to female athletes.
The lightweight armour, which is highly breathable and moisture wicking, features a web of interconnected air pockets which compress on impact, absorbing more energy than traditional foam padding.
It is a potential game changer for women’s contact sports and Bond University is supporting Fempro Armour in the critical stages of bringing the technology to market.
Our athletes test the gear, a research team will scientifically document the benefits to players and Professor Alan Patching and his Industry Engagement department will help drive Fempro Armour’s commercialisation strategy.
The armour has undergone extensive laboratory testing and has been trialled by elite athletes from Bond University, which boasts the number one women’s rugby program in Australia.
Three athletes put the Fempro Armour through its paces during their 2023 Rugby Union Season, in which the Bull Sharks’ successfully defended their Queensland Premier Rugby title while also claiming the inaugural Australian Club Rugby Championship.
Their input and feedback will help Fempro Armour refine the design to maximise protection and comfort before the public release.
According to Zoe Hanna, who won best on ground in the grand final win and was this year’s recipient of the prestigious John Eales Rugby Excellence Scholarship, the development of such a product for female athletes is truly exciting and showcases how far women’s sport has come.
“As a female rugby player, this kind of tailored protection could change the game for women’s contact sports,” said Zoe.
“Stephanie and her team are creating something that isn’t just a ‘pink it and shrink it’ version of men’s gear. It’s designed by women, for women, with our specific needs in mind.”
Professor Patching struck a partnership with Femrpo Armour after hearing its founder Stephanie Bofinger share her vision at a Bond University event in 2022.
“We are excited and proud to be supporting the development of this innovative and important protective gear for women rugby players the world over,” he said.
“That is the type of innovation we love to be involved with, and we look forward to not only our women players, but also those across Australia and the world, benefiting from wearing FEMPRO Armour as soon as the research and development phase is completed in the very near future.”
Bofinger is a former professional athlete who is passionate about reducing short and long-term injuries and improving safety for women in contact sports.
“The risk of injury for female athletes, especially in contact sports, is unacceptably high due to ill-fitting protective gear and under-researched safety standards that do not account for the anatomical differences in the female body,” she said.
Fempro Armour expects to release the world’s first commercially available female-specific protective sports gear to Rugby Union and AFL athletes next year, with plans to expand into additional sports.
When it’s released, the armour will be the only European Certified product on the market for female Rugby Union athletes, meaning the body armour has been tested, approved and surpasses European safety standards.