By Warren J. Potash
It cannot be that we don’t care about our female athletes’ health. Parents are the volunteer coaches providing the opportunities for female (and male) athletes to develop their skills. By virtue of volunteering – they care.
Can it be that parents don’t care about safe and age-appropriate exercise? Do parents know how to optimize the daily energy of their female athletes with proper nutrition and rest? I doubt that most of these coaches realize that females have different movement patterns (and require more calcium) than same-age males due to the inherent differences between females and males that are present at puberty.
What are the issues holding back today’s volunteer coaches from helping their female athletes? They are not trained so they do not know what to do. Even those sports that require all coaches to become certified have not developed cost effective courses that integrate what needs to be done to help their female athletes during the pre-teen and the teen years.
So, just like in the famous cartoon – we must ask the mirror on the wall:
Are we willing to do what’s necessary to help minimize the risk of injury and make a dent in today’s too high rate of injury and ACL surgery for this population?
ANSWER: I believe that parents have not received the important messages. There has been a filter that blocks out the messages so they do not understand how important the issues are for now, and in the future.
The vast majority of adults in control of youth sports organizations have blocked the important messages that need to be heard at all levels of female youth sports; i.e., all female athletes must train to play their sports. Lower body (and upper body for overhead athletes) stabilization as part of a comprehensive and integrated training program needs to be instituted at youth levels so the current too high injury rate occurring in the teen and older years can be minimized.
• 100,000 to 250,000 injuries reported in U.S. as female sports injuries,
• 40,000+ ACL surgeries for female ACL repair,
• 1,000,000 patient visits in total for healthcare professionals; i.e., pre-surgery, surgery, post-surgery,
• 1:4 females, 25% who have ACL surgery will injure the other leg, and
• A neuromuscular control loss will cause the non-injured side of your body to drop to equalize”
I have spent the past 16+ years training teen female athletes with remarkable success to play every sport. My colleagues and I have two (2) CEU courses that train trainers and coaches to provide safe and age-appropriate training programs for this population. My book: They’re Not Boys… addresses all salient issues and offers conclusions from the leading experts in this field. My website can provide all known and quality information – not just my opinion – but what leading doctors, PH.D. researchers, physical therapists, and athletic trainers have identified as being the most important issues for all female athletes.
– Warren J. Potash, Specialist in Exercise Therapy and Sports Nutrition and Sports Performance Coach Author: They’re Not Boys – Safely Training the Adolescent Female Athlete (2012) and co-author Your Lower Back (1993)