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Girls Soccer and ACL Injuries

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."

Gringo (mail):
Along the same vein, I have read that female basketball players have knee injuries at a substantially higher rate than male basketball players.
6.11.2008 9:14am
HipposGoBerserk (mail):
This is hardly new data - it's been around 10-15 years. It's understood that the wider hips change the stress on the knee enough that the rate of injury is significantly higher. I'll admit, however, that I haven't looked back to see if there's a solution yet. Since my daughter bailed on soccer (too much running, daddy) in first grade, hasn't been an issue for me.

HGB
6.11.2008 9:53am
L.A. Brave:
Reminds me of an article I read recently. It has nothing to do with men vs. women, but explains why knee injuries (and other human body quirks) are the result of us having an "inner fish": Fish Out of Water.
6.11.2008 9:54am
Houston Lawyer:
One of my biggest complaints about school sports is that the coaches are all too often members of the "win at any costs" school. I'm sure that this applies to girls sports as well as boys.

Girls can easily be pushed into playing injured to show that they are as tough as the boys. We had a hard time getting high school girls to wear knee pads while playing volley ball indoors. They played competitively at school and had it in mind that they should just live with the resulting injuries.
6.11.2008 9:55am
DaSarge (mail):
I spent 20 years as a firefighter in a town that has a large soccer center. On weekends, there was usually a tournament with 8 simultaneous games. The ages ranged from 6 years olds to middle aged adults. When someone was hurt, it was our aid car that responded.

We kept data for our own uses. The patient was female in 8 of 10 alarms. Knee injuries were the most common, followed by closed head injuries (collisions between players), then fractured collar bones.
6.11.2008 10:00am
Skorri:
There's no one out there who would be against programs designed to figure out how female athletes can better train to prevent the injuries they're prone to.

But other than that, what's there to be done about the issue? Women athletes at any competitive level are already well aware of ACL and PCL tears, etc., and they've almost certainly had teammates and familiar opponents who have gone down to them. That doesn't stop them from wanting to play.

There's often an undercurrent of "well, maybe women shouldn't play these sports. They should stick to Yoga and tennis instead" in articles about women's sports injuries, and that makes people defensive. Also keep in mind, as stated in the quoted article, this is not a purely physical issue, and "girls are more likely to put themselves at risk" when involved in sports competitions. If they want to play hard, accepting the risk is part of that.
6.11.2008 10:00am
Al Maviva (mail):
Oh, come on. Biology isn't destiny. I'm sure that if it weren't for society's latent sexism, those ACLs wouldn't be tearing...

/Betty Friedan

FWIW I noticed similar problems in the Army where there is an high rate of female knee and hip injuries stemming from ruck marching with the basic combat load of about 50-60 pounds. The typical injuries suffered by female soldiers were degenerative knee conditions and fractures in the hip joint. In most instances they never returned to deployable status, and all the hip injuries I can recall necessitated major surgery, and frequently joint replacement. This is pretty horrifying when you're talking about a 21 year-old in good health.

It seems to me that if you want to address the problem, the first step is to admit that there are significant physiological sex differences that may *to some extent* dictate outcomes, and then try to figure out how to deal with them. The PEP program seems fairly promising, but once you take an objective approach to addressing the problem, you need to also accept the objective results, which still may not be politically pleasing.

FWIW, I'm a strong supporter of women's athletics and have coached women in a couple different contact sports. The knee injury problem really bugged the hell out of me, I lost many very good athletes who suffered ACL&MCL tears - the two ligaments usually blew out together. None of them ever fully recovered from it - they could walk alright six months or a year or 18 months after reconstructive surgery, but their athletic careers and they joy they took from playing was over. It was sad to watch. So who gave us the right to ignore the injury rates, to damage these women and girls in order to satisfy our own little political agendas? That's pretty disgusting.

Life is getting in the way of coaching right now but when I return to coaching, whether it's men's or women's sports, I intend to use the PEP program or something similar as part of fitness &conditioning drills.
6.11.2008 10:04am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Hugo Schwyzer, a feminist and pretty much anything else progressivist blogger, reviewed the book and worried that some troglodytes would use it to reverse the gains Title Nine got women.
So there's some of your pressure to keep these things on the hush hush. Never know when the trogs will come out.
6.11.2008 10:14am
Xanthippas (mail) (www):
First off, I'm surprised and pleased to see this article get a mention on so prominent a blog as Volokh. A lot more girls are playing sports everyday, and anything that raises awareness of this issue for those girls and their parents is a good thing.

Second, this:

It was sad to watch. So who gave us the right to ignore the injury rates, to damage these women and girls in order to satisfy our own little political agendas? That's pretty disgusting.

is really silly. There's no "political agenda" that keeps anybody from acknowledging that girls get injured at a higher rate. As the article details, it has more to do with the extreme competitiveness of these girls, and somewhat to do with the fact that many of them feel they must play this hard to get the same respect that boy athletes get. That has nothing to do with some supposed agenda to get girls to play more sports, or ignore physiological differences between girls and boys. Maybe some people feel that way, but some people hardly an agenda make, right?

I would like to see these horrific injury rates come down, and it can't happen soon enough. As I can tell you from personal experience, injuries like ACL tears not only damage your ability to play sports, but they can also impair your quality of life as you get older. Young athletes may not even be aware of the fact that an ACL repair, a fairly common-place procedure, especially in soccer, doesn't just mean a season rehabilitating; it also may mean a knee-replacement when their in their 40s or 50s. I think any program that teaches both girls and boys the importance of strengthening critical weak points int their body with an eye towards avoiding injury, is a program that should be a precursor to serious athletic pursuit.
6.11.2008 10:37am
Ortho Doc (mail):
Strengthening the muscles that cross the knee will help some, but not likely that much. Female ligament strength will never be what it is in males for a number of good biologic reasons. There really is an anatomic structural difference between men/women and boys/girls. Can't fool mother nature.

It is easier to adjust one's lifestyle than to adjust one's genetic ligamentous strenght. Truly that is not politically correct in today's America, but that is life. Sorry.

Knee injuries early cause arthriic changes late. ACL repairs are problematic. In the final analysis ACL reconstructions are not of any long term benefit.

The risk for girls in fast pivoting sports will always be much greater than boys. You play the game, you take the risks, you accept the denouement.
6.11.2008 10:47am
Skorri:
Ortho Doc, all the anecdotes and data presented here show exactly that -- female athletes are playing the game, taking the risks, and accepting their body structure means they have a greater chance of certain injuries (and lesser chances at others). There aren't any women out there saying "I'm so equal even my knee ligaments are the same as a man's!"

The only people complaining are those posting here about just how "sad" it is women continue to play these sports despite injuries. So all this concern comes off as a bit manufactured, especially when there are a lot of studies that show either no significant difference between male and female sports injuries or show that males have slightly higher rates of injury, particularly due to football.

Except that makes for a lot less exciting of a story.
6.11.2008 11:09am
L.A. Brave:
Skorri:
From the study you linked to:
When football injuries were excluded from the analysis, the widening teenage gender gap in injury risk disappeared. There was no significant gender difference in teenagers' rates ... for injuries sustained during compulsory school physical education (PE)

I don't see that as contradicting anything anyone has said here. PE is fine, but when you get into soccer, there is a "widening" gender gap in injury risk.

As for acceptance of risk, do these girls and their parents know that their risk can be up to eight times higher?
6.11.2008 11:22am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Skorri. I coached AYSO and I concur in the injury by gender breakdown. Nobody's saying "my ligaments are just as good as yours."
Point is, for some time, nobody said, "you have to take extra care", and, indeed, many would have felt uncomfortable, or paranoid, for saying such a thing.
6.11.2008 11:24am
Henri Le Compte (mail):
As I recall, our universities have generally interpreted disparate impact to be the sine qua non of racism/sexism/genderism/ageism and all the other helpful labels they use to slice and dice the population. So... this problem is clearly due to underfunding of trainers and other medical professionals associated with women's sports teams.

Likewise, I think it is possible that there are inherently "sexist" moves associated with playing certain sports, and those need to be eliminated or somehow mitigated. I mean, an eight-fold increase in the incidence of ACL tears!? Surely that can't be accidental. Would you accept at face value a sport in which African-American players suffered devastating injuries eight times more often than their white counterparts? I didn't think so.
6.11.2008 11:29am
AnneS:
FWIW, parents and female athletes at the level where they're seeing the most injuries are very aware of the risks. My sister played at this level through high school and blew out both ACLs before deciding to quit. These types of injuries were extremely common and all of my sister's fellow players and their parents knew it, if not at the moment they started playing "select" in elementary school, from very early on. I really don't think it would be fair to cast them as innocent victims of a politically correct lie. In my experience, they are very competitive athletes who are unwilling to moderate their aggressive play to reduce the risk of a non-life threatening injury.

Not unlike male football players ;)
6.11.2008 11:40am
BobDoyle (mail):
Henri, all right-thinking people agree. Since women are inherently equal to men in all ways, these differences in injury rates are clearly a social construct. The data clearly shows that even with Title IX, our patriarchal male chauvinist system continues to foster an environment of discrimination towards women and of disparate treatment and impact for women in sports (and, other areas of society).
6.11.2008 11:56am
Skorri:
Fair enough, RA. As someone who was constantly bombarded while growing up with information on knee injuries and women's greater risk of them, I take it as granted that ligament tears are common knowledge. If there are coaches out there who, for whatever reason, feel uncomfortable letting female athletes know what the dangers are and what training they can do to combat it, then that definitely needs to change. (There's nothing "un-PC" about acknowledging the greater ACL-tear risk. What's offensive/annoying is when people use that stat to engage in concern trolling about how females need to recognize they're delicate and might hurt themselves and so shouldn't engage in certain activities.)

HLC, your theory that there are certain "sexist" motives with playing certain sports that require mitigation is an interesting one. I think I'm safe in assuming men are far more likely to play football than are women, and it seems like a component of that interest is due to assumptions that playing football is a masculine activity -- we need to mitigate the injuries football causes by encouraging as many as possible to take up synchronized swimming.

Men have disproportionately higher rates of occurrence for certain injures. Women have disproportionate rates in other injuries. Everyone should play what sports they want to, and train appropriately.
6.11.2008 11:59am
Brian Mac:
I knew that letting them out of the kitchen was a bad idea.
6.11.2008 12:03pm
BobDoyle (mail):
By the way, my sarcasm does not reflect a negative attitude towards women in sports or in any other area of human endeavor. My two daughters each played division I sports in college (softball and ice hockey), and one, so far, has gone on to acquire an advanced degree and to practice as a forensic scientist. The other just graduated and is contemplating her options at this time ...
6.11.2008 12:03pm
Don Miller (mail) (www):
I have a friend that is a professional firefighter and has competed at a world-class level in firefighter physical fitness challenge events.

She has been relegated to an office job because of athletic injuries. She fills command and control assignments on large events now, but will probably never fight fire directly again.

On Friday she is have knee surgery to figure out how many cadaver parts she is going to need to rebuild her knee. When they have get the parts she needs, she will have a second surgery to repair the damage.

BTW, there was a recent workman's comp lawsuit that said for jobs that employers expect a high level of physical fitness, police officer and firefighter for example, and people are expected to maintain their physical conditioning on their own time, employers are liable for workman's comp claims arising from physical conditioning, even when the injury occurs while the employee is on vacation.
6.11.2008 12:06pm
donaldk:
It is logical, I think, to assume that girls who choose to play competitive sports are a very select group which will play through pain more readily than the average boy, and so are in danger of serious injury.

They will ignore the possibility (probability?) of serious trouble in their ensuing adult lives. Therefore it is incumbent on the parents, if they care to protect their daughter from these permanent mishaps (as they would for instance against substance abuse), that they forbid her to play these sports as varsity and the equivalent; and secure it by a letter of notice to the school board president, that their daughter is not to be permitted to play these sports other than intramurally.

That is what I would do, and if it makes me a sexist beast, that's tough.
6.11.2008 12:10pm
gab:
I just read an article the other day on this exact issue. Sorry to contradict orthodoc, but there is way more to reducing ACL and MCL injury rates among women and girls than simply "Strengthening the muscles that cross the knee..."

Here's a link that describes the necessary protocol.

http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/0150.htm
6.11.2008 12:11pm
whit:

BTW, there was a recent workman's comp lawsuit that said for jobs that employers expect a high level of physical fitness, police officer and firefighter for example, and people are expected to maintain their physical conditioning on their own time, employers are liable for workman's comp claims arising from physical conditioning, even when the injury occurs while the employee is on vacation.


i would LOVE to research this. do you have a link?

in my agency, the only division that gets paid to work out is SWAT, but imo it should be part of our paid hours every week. impossible to bargain for at this point.

but i train to perform as a cop, and i have trained a # of athletes/cops to prepare for various tests/event (swat entry level, police olympics, etc.). while studies show that physically fit cops are way less likely to get injured on duty, use excessive force, take excessive sick leave, generate civil liability, etc. etc. getting our agency to support (ie: $$$) any physical fitness program is nigh impossible

this is a case i need to show my union rep, if you could provide me it.
6.11.2008 12:21pm
whit:

is really silly. There's no "political agenda" that keeps anybody from acknowledging that girls get injured at a higher rate


join the reality based community please. there most definitely is a political agenda that tries to suppress ANY data/speculation/evidence as to any differences between boys/girls, especially when they are negative for the girls' side. we have seen it with the larry summers thing, several feminists (some of whom have been referenced here) are famous for making these types of statements. it was friedan who once claimed that dummy carry tests for firefighters were sex-biased and based on an unfair male standard, since it would better to drag than carry a body anyway, they were clearly designed to be male biased, etc.

the general thrust is this... the first attempts when data is presented as to disparate results in women vs. men is to claim the data/methodology whatever is biased, etc. when and if that fails, the 2nd thrust is to claim that lettign women KNOW about this data is demeaning to women, etc. we saw this with summers, etc. heck, a friend of mine saw it at a canadian (university) when the health center employees were discouraged from giving women their BF numbers (only their relative improvement) and not men. it was seen as 'discouraging' and damaging to their oh so fragile self-esteem. again, a soft bigotry - iow, they can;t handle the truth.

in general, in most aspects, women are inferior athletes to men. that's about as politically incorrect as you can get, but it's true. one of their main advantages is superior flexibility, fwiw. GENERALLY speaking, flexibility is inversely correlated (once you get beyond a certain midpoint) with joint injuries. iow, too much flexibility can be bad. especially in sports where there is rapid directional changes, or extreme loading.

another example i saw of this was the marion jones thing. it's pretty much common knowledge (at least with male athletes like sprinters) that they use performance enhancers in very high %ages, but i saw umpteen examples at feminist sites, etc. that even suggesting such a thing with jones was "sexist". of course the suspicious turned out ot be correct

it's also somewhat politically correct in the college sports world to mention amenorrheic risks to female endurance athletes, because that could 'discourage' them from participation.
6.11.2008 12:43pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Skorri.
My coaching was in the late Eighties. The girls' team I coached was 12-13 yo. I knew about knee injuries, talked to a trainer about specific exercises and tried to work them in during out three hours per week practice.

I also had what we used to call a "heat casualty" and talked to the girls about that. Referred to how deodorant ads said women sweat differently from men [so you can believe it if the the ads said it] and how soccer was invented in a cold, wet, dreary climate, and we needed to be particularly careful about when to shuck the warmups needed when showing up at nine a.m for a game which will end about 1130. Honest to God, I was uncomfortable talking about that. Ditto "dangerous play" when defined as still kicking when down. Girls with missing teeth don't look rough and tough and charming, I said. They just look as if they're missing teeth. So curl up, roll over and away, and, besides, it's a penalty.

My injured girls were the best players and the hardest chargers.

So if I'm feeling the heat, what about somebody who's going to go on record in a publication devoted to sports? They'd have to protect themselves by not being gender specific, I guess.

For us non-professionals out here, the baleful influence of possible accusations of sexism and discrimination is forever whispering in our ears.

Maybe I'm one of Hugo Schwyzer's troglodytes or something.
6.11.2008 12:53pm
Jim M (mail):
A few years ago, some coaches in the Miami Florida area taught their female players to physically attack the opposing team's players by kicking them from behind...somewhat like clipping in football. Many injuries - including broken legs - resulted. The soccer leagues tried to address this problem. I don't know how successful they were. My point is that not all these injuries were caused by normal play.
6.11.2008 12:57pm
Fub:
Xanthippas wrote at 6.11.2008 9:37am:
I would like to see these horrific injury rates come down, and it can't happen soon enough. As I can tell you from personal experience, injuries like ACL tears not only damage your ability to play sports, but they can also impair your quality of life as you get older.
Just to add a voice to that chorus -- only yesterday, literally, Tuesday, I found one of my old friends hobbling around in a knee support wrapper cast device. She suffered an ACL injury in an auto accident almost 40 years ago. She says the old injury has flared up occasionally ever since for no apparent reason, and sometimes quite severely.
6.11.2008 1:11pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Once we settle the ACL issue, somebody can tell us what venue he'd like to be in to discuss the innate ability of women wrt hard science.
6.11.2008 1:47pm
BZ (mail):
I have coached high school and youth football (American) since 1971, including several teams with girls on them. Coaching methods have changed over the years, as have girls' attitudes. It is only in the last decade or so that a movement has taken hold to recognize and add training specifically for girls' knees. Remember that the ACL itself supports tremendous force in twisting and changing directions, even though it is about the thickness of a pencil. We always were taught to be careful about girls' knees, but it was only recently that the focus was on the ACL. Prior to that it was meniscus and general knee fitness.

But in all fairness, it is only in the last couple of decades that athletic training of all types (other than professional) began to take the kind of steps to reduce injury to both boys and girls. Now, for example, our football players take baseline brain surveys every season, so that if there is head contact, the trainer immediately puts them on a computer to check against the baseline. That way, not only do we protect against "second concussion" syndrome, we can get the player back into form earlier and with less effort. And our turf fields (though oven-hot in the summer) are significant aids to avoiding additional injury of various types. Things are improving in technique, tools, and information.

If you want your girls to be safe and still play the game, there are ways to greatly increase their safety.

But (and it's a big but), there are many coaches out there who neither care nor know about these advances. I resigned this year as a football coach after a new head coach refused to let a player with an obvious concussion go to a trainer. That's the danger: the bad or ignorant coach; not the game itself or the girls' anatomy.

I highly recommend the book "A Season of Life" by Jeffrey Marx. It takes about 20 minutes for a lawyer to read through it. Citing actual experience in Gilman High School in Baltimore, the book shows how a philosophy of "the coach's job is to love your players" can translate into a winning record.
6.11.2008 3:09pm
L.A. Brave:
Richard Aubrey:
From what I've read from Pinker and others, innate ability of women with respect to hard science is not that much different than men, on average. The two big reasons for the perceived achievement gaps are that:

1) The distribution of ability of men is flatter, so while men and women are equal on average, the long upper tail of men means there are more men, in sheer number, at the highest levels of scientific achievement than there are women.
2) Men are overwhelmingly interested in hard sciences and other mechanicals pursuits, while women are more interested in activities that require social interactions. I'm stating it crudely. But, for example, while men dominate mechanical engineering, women dominate veterinary medicine (80% of individuals in school to become vets are women: link. ) While it gets lost in the debate all to often, career choices are overwhelmingly affected by what people are interested in doing.

Here's a link to Steven Pinker debating Elizabeth Spelke on the issue.
6.11.2008 3:24pm
Don Miller (mail) (www):
Case of the police officer getting workmens comp from a vacation injury is

Tomlin v. WCAB (City of Beverly Hills)

Here is a link to a news article about the case. Was just decided last month
6.11.2008 3:29pm
whit:
don, thanks a lot!
6.11.2008 3:30pm
whit:

From what I've read from Pinker and others, innate ability of women with respect to hard science is not that much different than men, on average. The two big reasons for the perceived achievement gaps are that:

1) The distribution of ability of men is flatter, so while men and women are equal on average, the long upper tail of men means there are more men, in sheer number, at the highest levels of scientific achievement than there are women.
2) Men are overwhelmingly interested in hard sciences and other mechanicals pursuits, while women are more interested in activities that require social interactions. I'm stating it crudely. But, for example, while men dominate mechanical engineering, women dominate veterinary medicine (80% of individuals in school to become vets are women: link. ) While it gets lost in the debate all to often, career choices are overwhelmingly affected by what people are interested in doing.



yes, this is what eysenck has said as well, and what summers TRIED to before he got vilified by the feminist hordes at harvard. you are correct, and what is sad is that the pc agenda means you can't talk about this stuff in polite company. thus, VC is our only outlet :)

women's AVERAGe intelligence is about the same as men. their standard deviations are narrower.

you will have more males that are idiots and geniuses.

one can get into all kinds of sociobiological theorizing as to why this is true, but it's been pretty clear it's true for some time.

given that men have wider deviation, it's understandable that in the hard science careers where a lot of aptitude in math is required (wicked smaht levels) even given perfect equality of opportunity, you won't have as many women as men. period. the only way to equalize outcome is to inequalize treatment.

eysenck and others have also shown women have better language skills and men better math (spatial manipulation, etc.) skills.

and of course, all this stuff is ON average. it doesn't say anything about an individual.
6.11.2008 3:34pm
L.A. Brave:
whit:

Here is an interesting piece that talks about some of these issues. I wish it was more fully cited (its just a transcript of a speech, so I can't blame him), but still very interesting: Is There Anything Good About Men?
6.11.2008 4:04pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
L. A. Brave.
Everybody knows that. The question is, where are you going to have the stones to say it out loud?
Summers slobbered all over himself, ponied up $50 mill and still lost his job.
6.11.2008 4:41pm
Bob Goodman (mail) (www):
The difference in susceptibility to knee ligament injuries may not be only from hip structure, but hormonally. To loosen the symphisis pubis for childbirth, apparently for a time every menstrual cycle the signal weakens ligaments all over the body.

The current women's tackle (American) football leagues have different rules regarding blocking below the waist. The least restrictive, the NWFA, allows as much as the NFSHSA, while the most restrictive, the IWFL, outright bans all blocking below the waist.

I tore my PCL falling against a rock playing paintball, which presents its own hazards compared to contact sports because the former incorporates obstacles while the latter are played in cleared areas.
6.11.2008 5:20pm
Hastur (mail):
I've played american football for the past ten years and have seen many of my teammates tear ACL/MCL/Minuscus. At least from my perspective, it seems that a knee ligament tear is not as career ending as it once was. My cousin, who played soccer throughout highschool and is currently playing in college, tore her ACL midway through her junior year of HS. She opted to use her own ligaments to repair the damage, and she recently placed nationally in the high jump. The center I played with had torn his ACL, MCL and miniscus at various points in his career, and still managed to play in every game.
6.11.2008 7:13pm
Kirk:
Skorri,

Maybe you need to upgrade your web browser? HLC's <sarcasm> tags show up just fine for me!
6.11.2008 7:41pm
Snarky:
Political correctness, defined as outright suppressing information and arguments, is a bad thing.

Political correctness, defined as applying peer pressure on individuals to show respect to those who are different, is a good thing.

That said, when it comes to political correctness of the bad sort, I think the conservative obsession with the big bad liberals suppressing them is overblown.

Grow some balls. This is America.

If you are afraid to tell your daughter that she is at higher risk of certain types of injury because your afraid of the political correctness police, then you are not only a coward, your a bad parent.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Certain conservatives should stop censoring themselves in their cult of victimhood and then blaming the big bad politically correct police.

One of the more amusing trends is the conservatives who simultaneously say something that they claim is politically incorrect (and it usually is not even politically incorrect) and then talking about being suppressed.

Liberals are not truly engaged in a war against Christmas. Relax. Quit making yourself into the victim.

If you feel that the risks of injuries to girls playing certain sports is not well enough publicized: DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I know it is so much easier to play the victim card than do something constructive.
6.11.2008 8:54pm
Snarky:

what is sad is that the pc agenda means you can't talk about this stuff in polite company


If you censor yourself in "polite company" then YOU are the problem.

Guess what. Your not going to go through life without stepping on a few toes.

Now, obviously, it is not always wise to just say anything in any context. For example, it probably is not smart to talk about how much you love George W. Bush in a job interview (unless you happen to be applying for a job with a conservative organization). However, if you are consistently censoring yourself, it is YOU that is creating the norm that certain things just may not be said.

In other words YOU are the problem.

As a liberal, I personally would rather have the war of ideas out in the open. A lot of ideas that conservatives label non-PC are actually perfectly fine, but are not such great ideas. I would rather slam you in a friendly argument than have you suppress your thoughts secretly thinking that your silly idea has more merits than it does.

I think that conservatives have gotten way to much out of this anti-PC diatribe in their cult of self-pity and victim hood. They think their ideas do not get traction because they do not get a fair hearing, when in reality they are reject simply because they are bad ideas. I say bring your "politically incorrect" ideas and we will see if they have any merit.
6.11.2008 9:04pm
Toby:
Bob Goodman is right, and

http://www.springerlink.com/content/57275crbkahl3krm/



http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17307891


Anybody who has coached girls in middle school and high school knows that vast amount of pressure to be better in every way that, in particular, their mothers put on them. In some internalized drama similar to what some expressed during the HRC campaign, all of the frustataitons in the world are expressed trough their daugher. Watching them melt down as college freshman, free from home, is like watching victims of PTSD.

Walking through the airport the other day, there was som fatuous cartoon on the air. Goofy guy runs to catch a baseball and gets his legs tangled up. Poser guy chases a baseball and misses. Bright eyed, big boobed, manag eyed girl leaps her height and mroe to snag a ball. THe pressure/propaganda is pervasive. As this generation of women hits 40, limping and in pain, to soothe their boomer mother's egos, maybe perspectives will change.
6.11.2008 9:05pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Plus, they throw like girls.
6.11.2008 9:20pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
The worst parents I had was when I coached a girls team.

As to PC censoring, the problem is the cumulative effect of the cumulative effect. Nobody, though posessing a spine of titanium, is immune to the cumulative effect. That's how propaganda works.

In addition, there are places where it actually can hurt you. Try Canada. Or see Larry Summers. Or any number of college conservatives who have the spine but find themselves and their parents out some bucks or time or effort after "fighting".

As I said, I was uncomfortable talking about several gender-specific issues, but I did it.

The problem with being un-PC is it gives the liberals license to start howling about "racism", "sexism" and any number of versions of "two legs bad, four legs good". It's hardly worth starting when you know that will be the result.

Nevertheless, I've done it. The key is to smile at the lib and say in a conspiratorial tone, "We both know you're lying like a rug." Actually trying to discuss the issue is a waste of time, and, as they say, the pig enjoys it.
6.11.2008 9:45pm
willyg:
I don't know whether PC is the only issue (though it certainly is one). Basically, the no one knows definitively why the difference in injury rates exists, though it is agreed that it does. I did a report for a biomechanics class a couple of years ago about this, and the ACL rupture rates of females and males, normalized for athletic time, varied from something like 2:1 in some sports to 9:1 in military training.
The common belief among nonscientists is that women's wider hips cause a different angle at the knee, which stresses the ACL more while cutting. But the data I saw showed no correlation between the Q-angle (femur-tibia) and whether a woman had a rupture. Also, women activate their hamstrings more when landing from jumps and cutting. Also, they have decreased proprioception there, meaning that when they were blindfolded and their leg was moved, women only noticed it was moved when it had gone farther than in men.
I cobbled all of this data together into a theory about how women tend to protect their ACL with their hamstrings, resulting in injury when the hamstring is fatigued. Men have better proprioception and are better able to protect it with mechanics. In other words, men play closer to the edge and are therefore more aware of it and careful not to fall off. But that was my own theory based on available data. It certainly hasn't been shown yet.
Basically, women are different from men in quite a few ways, some of them subtle, and it leads to this differential. Either way, girls need to be told about it and trained with this in mind.
6.12.2008 12:05pm
Suzy (mail):
Through years of playing different sports, through highschool and college, not once did anyone explain a greater potential for knee or any other kind of injury. No preventative protocols were followed, to my knowledge. I've also seen the total lack of perspective some parents get as they push their daughters to succeed at all costs in athletics. It's truly strange. I know this happens with boys, too, but the vindictiveness and obsession of some of the girls and their parents in this regard was surprising. Now that organized sports programs start at about age 3, maybe it's time for parents to collectively step back, take a breath, and start thinking about fun and safety before cutthroat competition.
6.12.2008 3:30pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Suzy. Lots of luck. When I coached the girls team, the mothers were a PITA. The fathers were probably embarrassed and I didn't see much of them.

We have parents holding their kids back, in effect flunking them so they'll be a year older than their classmates. Stories about juicing twelve-year-olds.

Nope. No hope for parents. Maybe getting some reasonable coaches.
6.12.2008 4:10pm
bob (www):
http://www.google.com/search?q=ACL+female+athlete

The great conspiracy of silence.
6.12.2008 6:48pm