Are girls who play one sport more likely to be injured than boys? Austin doctors weigh in

Sports

AUSTIN (KXAN) – A recent study of student-athletes across the country found that girls who played only one sport had a 30% higher chance of suffering an overuse injury than boys who played the same sport. The most common injuries were torn ACL’s, tendonitis, and shin splints.

Dr. JP Rodriguez with Texas Orthopedics says that while the study may have published recently, the research is almost two decades old. “For a while we thought that was the trend,” Dr. Rodriguez says, “but it seems the interventions we’re doing have been working, at least in the last five years.”

Adolescence and Overuse Injuries

According to Dr. Rodriguez, overuse injuries occur over time. “There’s no discreet event that occurred that caused the injury. These are little small events that may not have occurred had you limited participation.”

Student-athletes in early adolescence, middle school to high school freshmen, are the most common sufferers of overuse injuries. Dr Rodrigues thinks this is because they are still growing and in the middle of discovering their sport. Between an increase in participation, puberty and enthusiasm, these student-athletes can cause a lot of damage.

Parents preventing injuries

Parents can help prevent these injuries by making sure their student-athlete continues cross-training, stretching and, most importantly, taking time to recover. “Do you want to train like a pro? Great, they take rest,” says Dr. Rodriguez. This is especially important during the off season.

Another cause is jumping into the season too quickly. The busiest time of the year for orthopedic surgeons is right when school starts. Athletes are far more likely to injure themselves if they are not properly prepared for their sport. This is why training during the off season is so important.

Finally, parents need to watch their child’s behavior. According to Dr Rodriguez, student-athletes won’t always say they’re injured and will try to push through. This can have devastating consequences. Parents should look out for warning signs, such as limping and sluggishness, in order to prevent these overuse injuries from escalating.

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