Tomorrow, America commemorates the 40th anniversary of the historic passage of the Title IX legislation. This date in history marked the establishment of women’s athletics alongside men’s athletics, as Title IX prohibits discrimination based on gender in federally-funded education programs and activities. It not only got thousands of young girls active in sports but it also elevated their risk of injury.
The Association of NJ Chiropractors (ANJC), the statewide association representing 1900+ doctors is dealing with the common injuries associated with the active participation of females in athletic competition. The injury that is affecting female athletes the most right now is concussions. While concussions from football have dominated the headlines, ANJC sports chiropractors are seeing a major concussion problem with female athletes.
Dr. Blasé Toto, an ANJC Sports Chiropractor and a member of the US Olympic Medical Team at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver deals with this on a regular basis in his office in East Brunswick.
“Female athletes have similar injuries to their male counterparts. However,
the rate is much higher especially when it comes to concussions,” notes Toto. “Chiropractors need to be aware of this pressing issue. A female athlete who suffered a concussion may seek treatment from a chiropractor due to post-concussive syndrome. She may have residual headaches and neck pain. She also may be looking for clearance to resume play.
“Chiropractic is great for alleviating the symptoms of post concussive syndrome. Concussions are injuries to the brain, but there is almost always a secondary injury to the cervical spine which needs to be addressed, and is best treated by chiropractors. With concussion being on the forefront of sports medicine issues and the large increase in female athletes, it is important for these athletes to know when they should seek out the treatment from a chiropractor.”
Since the statute’s inception in 1972, the number of female athletes has increased extensively across the United States. The number of female participants in high school sports in 1972 stood only at 300,000 nationwide. Today, the amount of female athletes in New Jersey high schools alone has reached a total of more than 100,000, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.
The ANJC Sports Council, a group made up sports chiropractors in New Jersey issued the following statement on the impact of Title IX.
Title IX was not only a historic event for women in sport, but also for our society
in general and the inclusion that it demands. From a healthcare standpoint, one of the most significant factors is the promotion of exercise and fitness that most sports require within the young female population. This is vital to establishing
a lifestyle of health and wellness. One acceptance of engaging in sport is an elevated risk of injury. Sports Chiropractors are in the forefront of addressing these issues. As sports have become exceedingly more competitive and younger and younger ages, proper training techniques, appropriate treatment and rehabilitation following an injury are crucial in the development of young female athletes.
According to the ANJC SC, some general ideas that can be applied to many young female athletes are:
- Get involved in as many sports activities as you can. The principals of cross
training and avoiding overuse injuries and burnout can go a long way especially at younger ages.
- Don't let little injuries become big ones. Avoid the pitfall of "it will just go away." Not only will that inhibit peak performance, but can also lead to other, larger scale injuries. Get checked and treated by your sports chiropractor.
- Be good to your knees. Female athletes have a higher rate of knee ligament/meniscal injuries than their male counterparts. This is where a sports chiropractor can help with periodic evaluation and treatment and ideas of training and proprioceptive activities that can help to lower the risk.
- Concussions aren't just for the boys. Understand that head trauma and traumatic brain injury can happen in many sports, not just football. Understand the significance of going undiagnosed and untreated for these injuries and seek help if there is any question at all that this injury has been sustained.
About the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors
ANJC is one of the largest associations of chiropractors in the nation, with over
1900 members, statewide. ANJC’s mission is to educate its members on the latest technology and advancements in the profession and to become a trusted, relied upon information resource to the public regarding the benefits of chiropractic care. For more information or to locate an ANJC member doctor by town or zip code, please visit ANJC’s public information website at www.njchiropractors.com or call (908) 722–5678.