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Is there an injury epidemic in girls’ sports?
  1. S B Knowles
  1. Correspondence to Sarah B Knowles, Department of Health Services Research, Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute, 795 El Camino Real, Ames Building, Palo Alto, CA 94301; knowless{at}pamfri.org

Abstract

Injuries to prominent sportswomen have raised questions about whether there is an injury epidemic for female athletes. Our aim was to synthesise the data on overall injury incidence among female athletes and present the evidence for specific injuries for which female athletes appear to be at greater risk than male athletes. We also reviewed the severity of female injuries, the hypothesised risk factors and injury prevention studies. In general, women have a lower rate of injury than men. Women are at greater risk for specific injuries such as non-contact anterior cruciate ligament injuries, but these injuries are relatively rare. Further, women tend to have higher rates of surgery for the same injuries than men. Nevertheless, injury rates likely can be reduced by research efforts to identify modifiable risk factors using rigorous epidemiological methods and the investigation of effective prevention programmes.

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Footnotes

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and Peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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