Knee Injuries in Female Football Players



iStock photo

Women athletes are at greater risk for serious knee injuries. Robin Basselin and Ryan Geertsma look at why, and what athletes can do.

Watch Video


Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Robin Basselin.

Voice 2 

And I’m Ryan Geertsma. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

Football is an important sport in Nigeria. And Stella Mbachu is one of Nigeria’s most famous female players. Mbachu is an athlete who plays for the River Angels. During a 2013 game, Mbachu hurt herself. She injured her knee. Many people encouraged Mbachu to continue playing. But Mbachu decided to stop playing and rest her leg. Because of her decision, Mbachu missed important games. She told futaa.com.

Voice 3 

“I will not be at my best. It is better for my team and me if I do not play.”

Voice 2 

Mbachu made a wise decision. She rested, and took time to recover from her injury. However, this is not always the case. Many football players feel pressure to play through their injuries. Because of this, knee injuries are becoming a major problem among female football players. Today’s Spotlight is on knee injuries in female football players.

Voice 1 

One of the best things about sports is that it teaches people to not give up. You learn to never stop trying even if you are losing. However, this attitude can cause problems when it comes to injuries - particularly knee injuries.  Knee injuries require a lot of rest to heal.  Without rest, knee injuries can become more serious.  They can keep players from ever playing football again.

Voice 2 

Both men and women football players suffer from knee injuries. But for women, the problem is usually more serious. Medical News Today reports that women are 2-8 times more likely than men to have knee injuries. Dr. Bridget Quinn wrote an article about women and sports injuries. In this report, she explains how men’s and women’s bodies are different. For example, women usually have more body fat and less developed muscles than men. Women are also more flexible.  Their joints, like knees, naturally bend farther than men’s. This can be an advantage in sports. But it also increases women’s chances of joint injury.

Voice 1 

Dr. Steven Horowitz is a writer and sports medicine expert. He suggests two particular reasons why women suffer more knee injuries than men. One reason is that women have a wider pelvis. The pelvis is a set of bones in the lower trunk of the body. The pelvis is where a person’s leg bones join with the body. If the pelvis is wider, it puts more pressure on the inside of the knee. Over time, this added pressure increases the chance of injuries.

Voice 2 

A second reason why women have a higher chance of knee injury is because of the size of their hamstring muscle. The hamstring is a group of muscles that run along the back of the upper part of the leg. Female athletes have a harder time strengthening the hamstring than male athletes. The hamstring keeps a person’s knee joint in place.  If the hamstring is not strong enough, the knee can more easily move. This causes injury.

Voice 1

Alex Morgan is another famous female football player. She also recently injured her knee. Morgan plays for the United States. Like Mbachu, Morgan is one of the best players for her team. In August of 2013, Morgan hurt herself in a game. She ran into a player from the other team. After the accident, Morgan could not stand. She laid on the field for six minutes. A medical team had to carry her off the field. She had injured her knee.

Voice 2 

Alex Morgan was lucky. Her injury was minor. And she was able to play again. However, doctors told her she must rest and not play for 4-6 weeks. Morgan tried to stay positive. She told the football news website, the Equalizer,

Voice 4 

“I feel better knowing there is no major damage to my knee. I will do everything I can to get better and return. I want to play and help our team win the championship.”

Voice 1 

Morgan’s desire to do everything possible to return to playing was good. However, what she needed to do was nothing.  With knee injuries, simply resting is often the best medicine. The problem is that resting can be very difficult for athletes.

Voice 2 

The Women’s Sports Foundation is an organization dedicated to advancing the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity. On their website, they list three simple rules for avoiding injury.  One, do not do something if it hurts. Two, stop doing something if you are feeling sick.  And three, take time to recover if you are injured.

Voice 1 

These are good rules. However, they cannot work unless people know about them. That is why educational movements are so important, movements like “STOP Sports Injuries”. “STOP Sports Injuries’” goal is to prevent sports injuries through education. They concentrate particularly on young athletes. Often young athletes do not rest enough when they are injured. And this can cause great damage. Some injuries can keep young people from playing sports later in life.

Voice 2 

Michael Sokolove wrote a book about knee injuries in female sports players. It is called “Warrior Girls”. Sokolove also thinks it is important to prevent knee injuries by working with young athletes. But he also thinks it is important to educate parents. Sokolove thinks parents need to teach their daughters to ‘listen to their bodies.’ This means that if they are in pain, they should rest and seek help.

Voice 1 

Mariah Burton Nelson agrees. Nelson is a former professional athlete and writer. In the Warrior Girls book, she says,

Voice 5 

“Female athletes need to recognize when they are tired or hungry. They need to recognize when they are in pain, when they need to strengthen or rest. The only thing they hear is that they are supposed to ignore pain. That is the message that gets us in trouble.”

Voice 2 

Sokolove believes that it is time to act.  He believes we must educate people about the growing problem of knee injuries in women athletes. In Warrior Girls, he writes,

Voice 6 

“This should happen before too many more amazing, spirited, young female athletes leave the playing field in pain and hopelessness.”

Voice 1 

Stella Mbachu is now 35 years old. This is old for a professional football player. However, she is still spirited. And she can still play football. Mbachu took her time to heal, and she continues to compete. She told futaa.com,

Voice 3 

“I have been playing football for some time now. I thank God that I can still help my team.”

Voice 2 

The writer of this program was Lauren Visser. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States. All quotes were adapted and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called “Knee Injuries in Female Football Players”.

Voice 1 

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program.  Goodbye!

(Get our app for Android or for Apple devices. Let us know how you like it and write a review!)

Question:

What should a professional sports player do if he or she has an injury? Should he or she keep playing or rest, even if it means missed games?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
onur
said on January 31, 2014

One sport branch should not threaten human health. I’m not sure how true is to see the boxing and barbell as a sport. This kind of sports is harmful for both sexes. Football is one of the most popular sports all over the world. Sometimes football also can be dangerous.  Women and men are different from each other in many ways. Physiological, anatomical and hormonal differences are sometimes advantage for each, but also they are sometimes disadvantage. Women don’t have a strong structure against the physical difficulties as much as men. Therefore women should choose a sport branch in which they shouldn’t harm themselves.

Avatar Spotlight
jmaia
said on May 19, 2015

The professional athletes must stay in rest if they are injured, even the results of the team are concerned.

Avatar Spotlight
Honneur
said on September 12, 2019

Who is a professional athlete has the body as a work tool. Knowing this is necessary to prevent injury and more than that to prevent further injury. There are currently many medical resources to heal wounds and injuries in a very short period, so there is no reason to be impatient.