David's recent post about the Euro Soccer Championships got me thinking about a recent cover story in the New York Times Magazine. Written by Michael Sokolove, the article (which can be found here) reports that the ACL injury rate for girls in soccer (and perhaps similar "cutting" sports like basketball) may be as high as eight times the rate for boys.
The article concludes that a sort of political correctness has kept coaches - and parents — from addressing the problem. Sokolove calls for strengthening programs, like the PEP program that is being tested in Southern California girls soccer teams. The exercise routine is basically a knee strengthening program, focusing on squats and core exercises and the like. (Click here for details.)
I am a big fan of girls (and women's) soccer. But the injury rate figures that Sokolove reports are truly troubling. I suspect that the issue of girls sports injuries hasn't received as much attention as it should because of fears that inquiries might be viewed as objecting to girls playing at all.
I hope that the doctors working in this area can confirm that programs like the PEP program work and that soe that fewer young girls who devote their lives to becoming fine atheletes won't have to go through the heartbreak of an ACL tear.
P.S. Sokolove has also just published a book, from which the NY Times piece is excerpted — “Warrior Girls: Protecting Our Daughters Against the Injury Epidemic in Women’s Sports.”