Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Uneven Playing Field -- women and ACL injuries

"If girls and young women ruptured their A.C.L.’s at just twice the rate of boys and young men, it would be notable. Three times the rate would be astounding. But some researchers believe that in sports that both sexes play, and with similar rules — soccer, basketball, volleyball — female athletes rupture their A.C.L.’s at rates as high as five times that of males."
I just read a fascinating article in the New York Times the other day about ACL injuries in female athletes. Really interesting (and scary) stuff. It mostly focuses on adolescent girls, but most of the stuff in it applies to adult female athletes, too. Not only does it talk about the physical risk factors that make women more susceptible to ACL injuries (looser ligaments, more flexibility, greater propensity to be knock-kneed, a more upright running posture), but it also talks about the emotional and social issues which may also have an impact -- the relative newness of women's athletics in general (Title IX is only 36 years old), the feeling women often have that they need to "tough it out" to prove they belong, the strong social bond they feel with their teammates that they don't want to give up for an injury, and the political touchiness of people who think that focusing on a woman's propensity to be injured will set back their work to put men's and women's athletics on an equal playing field. Read the full article here.

1 comment:

amstel190 said...

Hell, I hear you!
Tore my left ACL during London Rollergirl practice and snapped my right ACL in half playing softball.
After reconstructive surgery and rehab, I wonder if I'll ever be able to skate at Derby-level again.
If I had bought my knees in a store -- I'd return them citing a design fault!