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Is there an injury epidemic in girls' sports?
  1. Sarah B Knowles*
  1. 1 Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute, United States
  1. Correspondence to: Sarah B. Knowles, Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute, 795 El Camino Real, Ames Building, Palo Alto, 94301, United States; knowless{at}


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

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