Last week ESPN featured a story on Sara Tucholsky- a senior softball player for Western Oregon State. Long story short: Sara had never hit a home-run in her life. In a tight game versus arch rival Central Washington, Sara finally went yard. However, in her excitement, she forgot to touch first base and while she turned around to do so, she tore her ACL. For those who aren’t in the know; that’s an ouchie.
Due to NCAA rules, no one from Sara’s team could substitute for her or assist her in rounding the bases, or she would be credited with a two run single rather than a three run home-run. In an act of true sportsmanship, Central Washington players Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace carried Sara around the bases, tapping her left foot on each base until she reached home plate.
I’m no conspiracy theorist, but here’s my take on what really went down. The chick hit a home-run and the opposing head coach went all Cobra Kai, and told the first basemen to “sweep the leg.” Yes that’s it. That’s exactly what happened…..strokes beard.
Okay, that’s not what happened*.
It’s no secret that female athletes are four to six times more likely to sustain ACL injuries than their male counterparts. Furthermore, the majority of ACL injuries in female athletes are due to non-contact mechanisms such as landing from a jump or making a lateral pivot while running.
Hewett TE, et al state that dynamic knee instability, caused by ligament dominance (decreased dynamic neuromuscular control of the joint), quadriceps dominance (decreased hamstring strength and recruitment), and leg dominance (side-to-side differences in strength and coordination) may be responsible for gender inequity in ACL injury rates.
If we know all of this, then why do “we” still see programming for female athletes that includes leg curls, leg extensions, quarter squats, leg presses, no single leg work or posterior chain work, nor emphasis on sprint or landing mechanics? Something to think about.
*Or did it?
EDIT: The following day, it was revealed that the umpires had the original ruling wrong and that Western Oregon State’s coach could have substituted a runner for Sara without any penalty after-all.
UPDATE: Said umpires are now working tee-ball games…………in Wyoming.