Crippled in the name of equality

The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes the Title IX set:

If girls and young women ruptured their A.C.L.’s at just twice the rate of boys and young men, it would be notable. Three times the rate would be astounding. But some researchers believe that in sports that both sexes play, and with similar rules — soccer, basketball, volleyball — female athletes rupture their A.C.L.’s at rates as high as five times that of males.

Unless you’re an athlete or former athlete, you may not be aware how often and how badly women regularly get injured, even playing non-contact sports. It’s not that men don’t get injured too – my soccer team’s season resembles the Bataan Death March again this year – but then we’ve got 45-year old guys playing 90 minutes who refuse to stretch before the game and smoke during halftime. (And we don’t substitute until you’re injured or done for the game; it’s completely insane.) On my college track team, two of the male sprinters in our sprinter/jumper/hurdler group blew out their hamstrings, but that’s an expected risk. About a third of the women ended the season hurt, most of them for things that you wouldn’t have thought had anything to do with coming out of the blocks and running a short distance from point A to point B. Shin splints and stress fractures were the most common problem, if I recall correctly.

It is not only harmful, it is amazingly hypocritical to use federal law to actively push girls into competitive sports without either acknowledging or making them aware that they’ve got a much higher chance of being permanently injured. The fact that it is done more in the interest of a political fiction rather than the genuine sporting interests of the girls only makes it that much more reprehensible.

As one female researcher puts it: “If your job is to encourage inclusion of more women in sport, maybe you are not going to accentuate the negative. You don’t want to paint women in a negative light and tell a girl that if you play sports, your knees, by the time you are 30 or 35, may be in bad shape.”