Do we know enough about the female athlete?
Throughout my career as a Sports Therapist and Physiologist I have worked with many different female athletes, from a variety of different sports, ranging from slalom canoeists to rhythmic gymnasts. However, it is evident that there is not enough information regarding the differences in the female athlete across sports, competition level, demographics and socio-economic status. Therefore, as part of my ongoing research as a Lecturer in Sports Therapy and my experience of working with female athletes, I am endeavouring to develop a stronger understanding via an online survey with the following aims:
1. To identify influencing factors that may relate to injury risk and overall health of the female athlete.
2. To inform clinical practice particularly in the holistic assessment of the female athlete in the clinical environment.
Despite the increasing participation and professionalism in female sports, the profile of the female athlete is scarcely researched. There is high quality evidence suggesting that females may be more susceptible to a variety of different injuries and health implications while participating in high performance sport. For example, the risk of anterior cruciate ligament injury has been reported as four to eight times more likely in the female athlete (Arendt et al., 1999; Hewett et al., 2007). It is of the upmost importance to assess the prevalence of injury, risk factors and external influences for this population group (Chiaia et al., 2009). Furthermore, upon an initial literature search, there is no single survey to encompass the multifactorial nature of being a female athlete.
I will keep you all updated with any published articles.
ARENDT, E., AGEL, J., DICK, R. 1999. Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury Patterns Among Collegiate Men and Women. Journal of Athletic Training. 34 (2), p.86-92.
CHIAIA, T., MASCHI, R., STUHR, R., ROGERS, J., SHERIDAN, M., CALLAHAN, L., HANNAFIN, J. 2009. A Musculoskeletal Profile of Elite Female Soccer Players. HSS Journal. 5 (2), p.186-195.
HEWETT, T., SHULTZ, S., GRIFFIN, L. 2007. Understanding and Preventing Noncontact ACL injuries. Human Kinetics: London.