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Health Information Gender Matters: Summer Sports

Long gone are the days when girls only participated in "graceful" or "ladylike" sports. Today girls can participate in every sport, even sports viewed as traditionally male like weight-lifting and rugby.

 

"While the female body can handle just as much rigorous exercise as a male, anatomical, biomechanical and hormonal factors unique to women must be considered in treating and preventing sports injuries in women," according to Kathleen Weber, MD, the Chicago White Sox team's primary internal medicine/sports medicine physician and one of the team physicians for the Chicago Bulls. Weber has combined training in sports medicine, internal medicine and exercise physiology.

 

"We shouldn't forget that women are structurally different than men," says Weber. "And in order to avoid injury they need training and exercises tailored for their bodies."

There are some injuries that women and girls should be on the look-out for. Girls are three to four times more likely to suffer an injury to the ACL, a ligament of the knee, for example. "To reduce the risk of injury, women and girls should strengthen the leg muscles that stabilize the knee, especially the hamstring," says Weber. "It's also important to improve aerobic conditioning to prevent fatigue-related injury."

"To reduce the risk of overuse injuries, if you are just beginning a new exercise or sports program gradually increase the frequency, intensity and duration of the activity," Weber says. "Most important, don't forget—the benefits of sport outweigh the risks, and consult with your doctor before you start any exercise program."


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Please note: All physicians featured in Discover Rush Online are on the medical faculty of Rush University Medical Center. Some of the physicians featured are in private practice and, as independent practitioners, are not agents or employees of Rush University Medical Center.

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