Date of Award

Spring 2003

Document Type

Legacy Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)




College of Science

First Advisor

Wendy R. Hood


The incidence of athletic injuries is increasing, as there has been a rise in sports participation. This is especially true for women, as female participation in sports has grown immensely in the past three decades. Along with the increasing involvement of women in collegiate athletics, there has also been an escalation in the incidence of female injuries, particularly injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Females experience a much higher ACL injury rate than males participating in sports with similar rules, equipment, and body actions. A nation-wide survey was conducted to investigate the current ACL injury ratio for university and college basketball, soccer, and baseball/softball programs. The data reveals that the female ACL injury rate is higher than the male injury rate in all three sports. A study conducted in 1995 is used as a model for the discussion of factors contributing to ACL injury. The study is updated with information that has been published since 1995 with regard to the anatomical differences between males and females that coincide with the gender biased relationship. Factors contributing to injury of the anterior cruciate ligament are said to be intrinsic (joint laxity, limb alignment, notch dimensions, ligament size, hormones) or extrinsic (body movement, muscular strength, proprioception, neuromuscular, firing patterns). Intrinsic factors are considered unchangeable, while extrinsic factors are sport-specific and can be changed. The relationship that these factors has with the gender biased injury ratio is discussed, as well as training methods that may help decrease the incidence of female ACL injuries in collegiate athletics.