Reducing injury risk for female athletes

Reducing injury risk for female athletes (Photo: SBG)

(SBG) Opportunities for women in sports have never been greater. But along with that surge in participation has come a greater risk for certain types of injuries.

"Young women have a preponderance of increase knee injuries and knee pain. With ACL tears about five times more likely than boys to have an ACL tear," says Dale Yake of PT Solutions.

Yake says ankle sprains, shoulder trouble and stress fractures are also concerns for female athletes.

A wider pelvis, less muscle and higher estrogen levels are some physiological factors can that raise the risk of injury.

Physical therapists say girls also tend to land more stiff-legged and upright. Girls also cut differently than boys and may suddenly change direction on one foot rather than two.

Simple tests can identify potential weaknesses and bio-mechanical issues, but good strengthening exercises go a long way in preventing injuries altogether.

By percentage, soccer players have the highest incidence of knee and lower back injuries.

"If we intervene at a young age and train them on biomechanics, train them how to be aware of their response to jumping and cutting we can avoid injury all together," adds Yake.

Experts say training should start at the elementary school age. Ideally, with fundamental movement skills in physical education classes.

Sinclair Broadcast Group has teamed up with Youth Sports of the Americas to help broaden education for athletes, parents and coaches.

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