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Article in NY Times Magazine

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  • Article in NY Times Magazine

    There was an article in this past Sunday's New York Times Magazine about injuries in women's sports (specifically about A.C.L. injuries) but also generally about the injury rates women in sport suffer.

    Everyone wants girls to have as many opportunities in sports as boys. But can we live with the greater rate of injuries they suffer?

    I thought the article presented a balanced view of facts.

    Just curious on what those that are involved in women's sport think. (The article makes no mention of women's baseball).

  • #2

    It focuses on soccer... which is an 80 minute non stop action.

    I would be interested in seeing the injury rate base on a sport and a listing of sports with the highest injuries and a listing of sports with the lowest injuries in regards to women's sports.


    • #3
      If it is fact that women are more prone to suffering injuries in sports, due to the lack of enough support muscle in certain areas, then maybe girls and women should be educated on this and taught how they can work on building strength in order to help prevent injuries. Maybe schools should have classes, or part of phys. ed. classes could teach all kids on the importance of muscle strengthening in relation to sports and highly-physical activities. My school did nothing of the sort. Phys. ed. didn't teach us much of anything. We just went out and played sports.

      All I can say is, I've been playing sports my whole life for the most part... basketball, ice hockey, softball, baseball, football, etc. when I was a kid (I played some competitively in school and others for fun) and competitive ice hockey, roller hockey, baseball, and soccer (all of them on both coed and women's teams) as an adult, and I haven't had any major injuries beyond the typical bumps and bruises that most athletes get. The worst injuries I've gotten were when I collided with a goalie while playing roller hockey and went flying through the air and landed on my right hip and shoulder, and I got hit in the throat a few times with other players' sticks. My shoulder was very sore for a long time, but I never went to the doctor for it. When I started doing massage therapy regularly, it got rid of the soreness, and there aren't any injuries left from the collision.

      Many people I know, both men and women, who play or have played sports regularly complain of knee problems and pain. The knee happens to be the weakest joint in the body. I don't have knee problems or any other kinds of problems (besides tight muscles, which are a consequence of my job), so I guess I'm lucky. I'm 36 years old and won't stop playing sports unless I'm unable to move. I do yoga and pilates regularly and get massage therapy and chiro. adjustments regularly.


      • #4
        This is the first time I've heard anything of this sort. I also would like to see a sports list with individual sports injury rates in relation to women's sports. All I know is, I hear of a lot of injuries on both sides of the coin... both for males and females. There are growing injuries amongst male pitchers in high school and even below high school. It would be interesting to see a comparison of a list of sports injuries for both men and women.


        • #5
          This article states that women's higher rates of sports injuries are not due to gender... rather, they are due to lack of physical fitness...

          Release Date: March 16, 2000

          Contact: Nicole Bell, ScD, MPH
          (508) 651-8116
          [email protected]

          Lack of Physical Fitness Causes Higher Sports Injury Rates Among Women


          A new study may help explain why women are more prone to sports injuries than men, as previous research has suggested. Lack of physical fitness, rather than gender differences, may be the cause, according to a study of Army trainees.

          "These results suggest that gender per se is not as good an indicator of injury risk as overall physical fitness, and therefore the excess risk women experience may be reduced through modified training programs," said lead author Nicole S. Bell, ScD, MPH, of Social Sectors Development Strategies, Inc., and Boston University School of Public Health, in Boston, MA.

          Bell and colleagues followed a group of 861 male and female Army trainees over the course of their eight-week basic combat training course. Muscle endurance and aerobic fitness were measured at the start and end of the course by an Army physical fitness test involving push-ups, sit-ups, stretching, and one- or two-mile runs.

          Women experienced approximately twice as many injuries as men, overall. Also, their risk for more serious injuries (that led to at least one day of lost duty) was almost 2.5 times greater than the risk for male trainees, the researchers found.

          Considered alone, these results suggest that female gender is linked with higher injury risk. However, when the researchers took into account the fitness levels of the female trainees—who were less physically fit than the male trainees as measured by the Army fitness test—they reached another conclusion. "Much of the gender-injury relationship appears to be explained by physical fitness, in particular aerobic fitness, as opposed to gender per se," said Bell.

          The slowest runners, whether male or female, experienced more sports injuries than the fastest runners, the researchers found. Both males and females with the fastest run times had the lowest injury risks. "Women and men at same levels of fitness can be expected to have similar injury risks when performing similar activities," said Bell.

          The researchers also found that the female trainees improved their levels of fitness faster— approximately twice as fast—as the male trainees, during the eight-week training period. This finding is consistent with previous research indicating that those who start training at lower initial fitness levels experience greater fitness improvements relative to those who are relatively fit when they begin training.

          Women's sit-up scores improved by 98 percent, versus a 44 percent improvement for men; push-up scores improved by 156 percent compared to 54 percent for men; and aerobic fitness improved by 23 percent compared to 16 percent for men, the researchers found. The study results appear in the April 2000 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

          "These results suggest that women and men initiating a vigorous physical training or exercise program, who exhibit low levels of physical fitness, are more likely to be injured by training activities, but will also improve their level of fitness more rapidly than their more fit peers," said Bell.

          Women can substantially improve their fitness levels with training, according to Bell. "In the early phase of training it may be wise to assign trainees to fitness-appropriate levels of training and progress slowly to more advanced training as their fitness improves," she suggested.


          The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, sponsored by the Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine and the American College of Preventive Medicine, is published eight times a year by Elsevier Science. The Journal is a forum for the communication of information, knowledge, and wisdom in prevention science, education, practice, and policy. For more information about the journal, contact the editorial office at (619) 594-7344.

          Center for the Advancement of Health
          Contact: Petrina Chong
          Director of Communications


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