Health + Wellness

More Than a Fashion Statement

Angel Reese

Angel Reese, the former LSU standout and current Chicago Sky rookie, is making waves in the basketball world not just for her skills on the court, but for her signature style statement: wearing a one-leg compression tight. While this choice might seem like a fashion statement, it serves a deeper purpose for Reese, providing her with the confidence she needs to excel in her sport.

Reese’s journey with the one-leg compression tight began after she underwent surgery on her shin two years ago, following a tibia injury during her freshman year. The surgery, which involved inserting a rod into her shinbone, left her with a noticeable scar. This scar not only reminded her of the physical trauma but also affected her confidence.

In an interview on the I Am Athlete podcast, Reese mentioned that her confidence had plummeted after the surgery, to the point where she questioned whether she wanted to continue playing basketball. However, after successful surgery and rehabilitation, she regained her confidence and returned to the starting team at the University of Maryland.

Dr. Sean Rocket, a sports medicine doctor at Orthopedics New England, tells SELF, “That type of surgery involves inserting a rod into the shinbone. The kind of procedure requires an incision that’s a few inches long in the front of the knee near the kneecap, which could leave a noticeable scar.”

The decision to wear the one-leg compression tight is also a tribute to two basketball players she admires, Te’a Cooper and A’ja Wilson, who have also been known to wear a similar garment. Reese sees it as a way to pay homage to her idols while adding a touch of “swag” to her game.

Aside from its symbolic significance, the compression tight offers several physical benefits. Dr. Rocket explains, “The compression of the muscle and fascia can improve proprioception, or feedback, for where the leg is in space. That can be important in a sport like basketball, where players frequently jump and land in a pile or get jostled. Their muscles need to know when to fire to stabilize their knee or ankle.”

Another potential benefit of the compression sleeve is lymphatic drainage, which helps remove waste products from the body, reducing swelling and aiding in recovery after intense workouts or competitions.

While some studies suggest that compression garments can improve muscle recovery and performance, others show only minimal benefits. However, for Reese, the comfort and familiarity of wearing the one-leg compression tight are paramount.

Brent Chuma, CSCS, a strength and conditioning specialist who works with injured athletes at Wellness in Motion Boston, tells SELF, “Essentially, it’s what she’s used to, and given how much her confidence was rattled after the surgery, it follows that she’d want all the security on the court she can get.”

In addition to physical challenges, Reese has also faced mental health struggles. Following LSU’s loss to Iowa on April 1, Reese shared that

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