Women and Kids More at Risk for Sports Injuries

By Walsh, Tom | Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME), July 23, 2012 | Go to article overview

Women and Kids More at Risk for Sports Injuries


Walsh, Tom, Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME)


Sports injuries remain a pervasive medical issue among athletes of all ages, but are more prevalent among women and children.

And there aren't many sports that don't involve contact with the potential for injury, even if it's just the contact between the hard surface of a roadway and a runner's feet, ankles, knees and hips. Among professional athletes, concussions have been in the news lately, especially among NFL football and NHL hockey players. But even weekend warriors -- joggers, tennis players, kayakers, cyclists -- are prone to injury, women more than men.

Dr. Bridget Quinn, director of the sports clinic at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, says differences in women's anatomy -- wider hips and different thigh bone and foot structure -- make them more likely than men to suffer sports injuries. Women are more prone to repetitive stress injuries, shoulder and hip problems, and ankle sprains as their joints are more flexible than men's, she said.

Athletes' age also affects susceptibility to injury. A high school a football game can see a 260-pound defensive tackle taking on a 140-pound running back, with sometimes brutal physical consequences, given the sheer physics involved.

Dr. Thompson McGuire, an orthopedist who specializes in sports medicine at Down East Orthopedics in Bangor, said he's amazed by the physical disparity between his eighth-grade son and some of his son's classmates.

"My son is probably 90 pounds, and he has classmates who are close to 200 pounds, full-grown men who are already shaving," he said. "He's playing soccer against these guys, and I'm glad that it's not football."

McGuire said he sees a lot of injuries related to basketball, soccer and football, but attributes that to the fact that those are among the most popular sports. "I don't see a lot of cricket injuries," he said. …

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