Female Athletes Have Shorter Season Time to Injury

Gender and sport, not preseason fitness, influence time to injury in varsity athletes

THURSDAY, July 26 (HealthDay News) -- Female varsity athletes have a significantly shorter time to injury than males, regardless of sport or preseason fitness, according to a study published online July 23 in the Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy, Rehabilitation, Therapy & Technology.

Michael D. Kennedy, Ph.D., from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and colleagues studied male and female varsity athletes competing in basketball, volleyball, and ice hockey to determine whether preseason measures of athletic performance were predictive of time to injury. Apley's range of motion, push-ups, curl-ups, vertical jump, modified Illinois agility, and sit-and-reach were used to assess fitness.

The researchers found that 76 percent of the athletes reported one or more injuries. Females and males differed significantly in mean times to initial injury (40.6 and 66.1 percent of the total season, respectively). There was a significant correlation between push-up performance and time to injury, but no preseason fitness measure affected the hazard of injury. Female athletes had significantly shorter time to injury than males, regardless of the sport (hazard ratio [HR], 2.2). Compared to athletes playing hockey or basketball, athletes playing volleyball had significantly shorter time to injury (HR, 4.2).

"When accounting for exposure, gender, sport, and fitness measures, prediction of time to injury was influenced most heavily by gender and sport," the authors write.

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