Thursday, August 28, 2008

Women are more prone to injury: Warrior Girls

The Olympics are over for another four years and all that remains is to welcome our successful athletes back to the fold. Now the dust has settled and the media moved onto the next glittering event then few spare a thought for the athletes back to early morning runs, hard training schedules and local competitions. Lucrative contracts for the few but the vast majority of sportspersons beaver away very much the poor relation of their professional counterparts. Come the day and come the hour it appears we expect too much from our female athletes according to a recent book written by Michael Sokolove entitled Warrior Girls. The author has studied the injury patterns of athletes and discovered female athletes are more likely to suffer injury than males. Most of which are preventable but according to Sokolove the winning culture ignores prevention preferring young sportswomen damage themselves all in the name of sport. Whilst regular physical activity is beneficial concerns are now directed at team sports like soccer and basketball, which have increasingly adopted the nose-bloodying male model of athletic prowess. Pushing female athletes to specialise in one sport and to play it relentlessly all year has been connected to detrimental development of women’s bodies. In particular there has been a significantly high level of knee injuries in young female who play soccer, basketball and volleyball. Studies have shown women are eight times more likely to damage themselves in "jumping and cutting" sports. Sokolove argues many young athletes are under pressure from peers and coaches to participate in situations which over exposure them to damage. A contributory factor is footwear and according to several studies it appears many sportspeople are likely to wear the wrong shoes for their sport. Many people remain unaware that different activities require different styles footwear. Most buy one pair of generic trainers which they wear for every activity, not realising different activities need specific shoes designed to protect their feet and avoid sports-related injuries. Running on hard surfaces for example need footwear which cushion and support the feet as well as have a hard wearing outsole. A good set of running shoes should be renewed ever year. By contrast aerobics shoes should give support to the ankle to avoid injury when making sudden side-to-side movements. A quick peek into any high street sport shoe shop will confirm there are now shoes for all sports and whilst cross trainers might do the couch potato, the more serious sports person should seek out the proper footwear for their chosen sport. In any event as with all shoes make sure when you buy them that they fit your feet comfortably and the style is appropriate for the intended use.

No comments: