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Optimizing Health and Athletic Performance for Women.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1007/s12178-021-09735-2
Purpose of reviewThe exponential growth of women participating in competitive sports throughout the years was made possible through several initiatives by the International Olympic Committee and the passage and implementation of Title IX as a federal law in the United States. However, this positive trend towards gender equity in sports has not transpired for women in medicine, especially in fields that care for elite athletes. This current review will discuss specific areas that can be tailored to help female athletes prevent injuries and optimize their athletic performance. We will also highlight how increased female team physician representation in sports may help optimize care for female athletes.
Recent findingsFemale athletes are considered high risk for certain conditions such as ACL tears, patellofemoral pain syndrome, bone stress injuries, sport-related concussions, and sexual violence in sport. Addressing factors specific to female athletes has been found to be valuable in preventing injuries. Strength and conditioning can optimize athletic performance but remains underutilized among female athletes. Although diversity in healthcare workforce has been found to be beneficial for multiple reasons, women remain underrepresented in sports medicine. Increasing female team physician representation may positively impact care for female athletes. Team physicians must understand the physiologic, biomechanical, and anatomic factors that are unique to female athletes in order to tailor injury prevention programs and optimize their athletic performance. Advocating for gender equity in sports medicine to advance representation of women in the field will increase workforce diversity and promote excellence in sports medicine care.
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