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Male Football Players Face Higher Risk Of Hamstring Strains Than Female Players

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Male soccer (football) players are more likely to experience hamstring strains than their female counterparts, according to a study examining injury data from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Kevin M. Cross and colleagues from the UVA-HealthSouth Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center in Charlottesville, Virginia, looked at the NCAA´s injury records from the 2004 to 2009 seasons to compare the incident rate ratios of hamstring strains between the sexes as well as during games versus practices and the pre-season against in-season.

The analysis, published online in the American Journal of Sports Medicine earlier this month, showed that tears of the hamstrings, or the muscles behind the thigh, occurred most during games and in pre-season training.

Specifically, men were found to be 64% more likely than women to sustain a hamstring strain. Male soccer athletes had significantly higher rates of hamstring strains than women during both games and practices. There were no differences in injury rates in male and female student athletes during the pre-season men but were much more likely to sustain a hamstring strain during the in-season and they had a higher proportion (22%) of recurrent hamstring strains relative to women (12%).

While men have significantly higher rates of hamstring strains than women, the event and athlete characteristics were similar for both sexes in first-time and recurrent hamstring strains. Identifying common characteristics may help in developing preventive and rehabilitative programmes for this type of injury, the study authors concluded.

Hamstring strains that are less severe are usually treated with a few days of rest and ice but more serious tears may require a muscle-repairing operation.