Observations About Sports Injury Surveillance and Sports Medicine Psychology among Female Athletes

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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  • 1 University of Minnesota
  • 2 Hamline University
  • 3 Sports and Orthopaedic Specialists
  • 4 Innovative Sport Performance Consulting
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Injuries contrast with the overwhelmingly positive benefits of sports participation for female athletes, with estimates of a third or more of all female athletes sustaining injury in any given season. Media headlines convey the impression that female athletes are more vulnerable to sports injuries than male athletes are. This observation led to our first purpose, which was to use evidence from the sports injury surveillance literature to examine the facts about female athlete risks of injury and compare these risks to those of male athletes. In light of Gill and Kamphoff’s (2010) observation that we largely ignore or underrepresent female experiences in the sport and exercise psychology literature, our second purpose was to highlight examples of the psychological, behavioral, and social aspects of female athletes’ injury experiences, and provide comparisons to male experiences within this realm of sports medicine psychology. These evidence-based observations guide our concluding recommendations for injury reporting, prevention, and rehabilitation roles of those in the media and sports professions.

Wiese-Bjornstal and Franklin are with the School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. Dooley is with the Department of Athletics, Hamline University, Saint Paul, MN. Foster is with Sports and Orthopaedic Specialists, Minneapolis, MN. Winges is with Innovative Sport Performance Consulting, Baton Rouge, LA.

Address author correspondence to Diane M. Wiese-Bjornstal at dwiese@umn.edu.