ALL female athletes – not just elite athletes – need to value training to play sports.
Researchers have shown there are many benefits for every female athlete – these are just some of the most important:
1. Minimize the risk of injury,*
2. Stabilize and strengthen the lower body, and
3. Minimize the risk of osteoarthritis (OA); this will affect 70% of all females that suffer knee injuries within 12 years of the injury as compared to injured males who may, or may not have an OA challenge within 20 years,
Let’s say you are thinking that injuries and sports HAPPEN!! AGREED!! However, did you know that the trained female athlete will bounce back more quickly than an untrained athlete?
Further, even though females play sports for far more social reasons than males – many want to be quicker, stronger, and generate more power – sport-specific training is the only way to optimize this for all athletes. Now, the teen female athlete has many challenges listed under “Differences between female and male athletes” on my website. One challenge – absence of a neuromuscular spurt at puberty – is attracting much attention from researchers.
Also, it is now known that my BNP Training (balance, neuromuscular control, and proprioception) not only helps every athlete develop a solid kinetic chain; it will help minimize the risk for OA.
Couple BNP Training with safe and age-appropriate guidelines and every athlete will benefit from a stronger foundation. Volunteer coaches, parents, guardians, and the adolescent (teen) female athletes need to find time in their busy schedules to make certain the female athlete’s core and joints (also the upper body for overhead sports) are ready to develop the required skills for each sport.
Historically, male athletes have trained to play sports and female athletes have just played their sports. There is compelling research from independent researchers that provide valued insight into why training to play sports is very important for all female athletes; e.g., a link between the central nervous system and fatigue in females has been identified recently. I am hoping in the next decade we will see female athletes embrace training to play sports and the current too high injury rate causing 40,000+ ACL surgeries (just in USA) and up to 250,000 female sports related knee injuries annually, will lower over time.
Call me old school, but the future Moms do not need an OA challenge in their late twenties or early thirties. Youth sports, et al has to understand that pro athletes take off time to rejuvenate their body and their mind; then, they begin training for their next season. Now, youth sports is on a 10 – 11 month cycle between club and varsity sports through high school. Doctors know this year-round sports cycle with youth, who have open growth plates, is a primary cause of the too high rate of lower body injury.
Since no one wants to see any athlete idled by injury, it is time to reign in what has led to this too high injury rate and listen to healthcare professionals. Common sense says that healthcare professionals are committed to helping all athletes stay healthy. Let’s listen to them. An orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Geier says he is asked why he wants to see the injury rate go down, since he and his colleagues would benefit from more procedures. He says: “it’s the right thing to do.”
* There are no training programs that can guarantee injury will not occur during training or playing sports.