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Young women in sport: Are we training them all wrong?


Released 06/11/2019

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A series of clips showing women playing various sports.

Transcript

Narrator - "More than ever before females are getting involved in sport, but with more women in sport, more are injuring their ACL."

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Dr Simon Young sitting in an office setting.

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Dr Simon Young - "Yeah, we found overall the incidence of ACL reconstruction had gone up by about sixty percent in the last decade but in young females that they actually got out by 120 percent, so more than doubled."

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Animated cross-section of a knee and an ACL injury.

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Narrator - "New science shows females have a higher risk for ACL injury, yet we're only learning this now because traditional sports science was based on male rather than female physiology."

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Dr Bruce Hamilton sitting in a gym.

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I mean there's no question that women are underrepresented in sports and exercise science research. We now know that a women's physiology is very distinct to men's and that it affects all of their organ systems. And so why would we try and train and why would we expect that research done on men can translate directly to research done on women.

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Clips of a woman walking and sipping from a water bottle.

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Narrator - "We're also learning that the impact of puberty on females is different to what males experience."

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Dr Stacy Sims sitting in a medical office.

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Dr Stacy Sims - "If we look at what's happening you have the widening of the hip angle, you have a change of your center of gravity, you have increased body fat acclimation - primarily driven from hormones, and then to top it all off you start bleeding, right. And then you look at boys and boys they get tall they get strong to get lean they get fast and get aggressive. So the misstep I think at that time period where girls are really sensitive is we don't tell them it's a temporary blip in time and we also don't reteach them critical skills to not get injured."

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Aoife King looking out her kitchen window.

Transcript

Narrator - "Aoife King, a secondary school New Zealand rep footballer injured her ACL in 2017, when she was 15.

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Aoife King sitting in her lounge

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Aoife King - "It was really hard to diagnose at the start took about four months for him to work out what it actually was. And then I had the whole surgery and 12 months of recovery from that but then at the start of this year and the first pre-season training I did my other ACL. So I had my surgery for that back in April and it's been rehabbing ever since.

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Dr Mark Fulcher is talking in an office.

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Dr Mark Fulcher - "There are a range of long-term impacts so I guess for athletes the first thing is that generally it will involve an ACL reconstruction and 12 months off sport. There's a higher risk of re-injury so there's about a 30% chance of having a further ACL injury if you're a young adolescent with this injury. You're more likely to have future surgery on your knee, you're less likely to have a long career compared to your peers that don't tear their ACL and in later life you're much more likely to develop wear and tear change or post-traumatic arthritis into problems into later adulthood.

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Aoife King sitting in her lounge again.

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Aoife Kind - "I initially found it really devastating because it took away all my sport and everything that I'd known and I even found that it quite hard just going to school and things like that because it was such a change in my life not having trainings after school or not being able to just be involved with everything.

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Aoife King typing on a laptop and drinking tea outside her house.

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Narrator - "An ACL is a serious injury, with a long term impact on your life but you can do things to prevent it."

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Dr Mark Fulcher is talking in an office, with footage cutting between woman running, stretching and other warm-up activities.

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Dr Mark Fulcher - "By training, balance and by doing some strength training we can make young women move better and we can minimize some of the at risk positions that can lead to ACL injury. So the 11 plus in the ACC sports smart warm-up is a really good way to prevent injury. So we know across the board that we can reduce the risk of all injury by about 30% and the risk of ACL injury and severe injury by about 50%.

Narrator - "While everyone should be doing warm-ups it's especially important for females to be doing it from a young age so they can look forward to an injury-free sporting life.

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Dr Bruce Hamilton sitting in a gym.

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Dr Bruce Hamilton - "I'm just excited to see more woman being held up as role models and the potential to influence our society for health and well-being down the line."

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ACC logo and ACC SportSmart website appear onscreen.

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Narrator - "For more information on females in sport visit accsportsmart.co.nz"