Is Women’s Soccer More Dangerous Than Men’s Soccer?

Soccer is one of the most popular sports in the world, with millions of players and fans around the globe.

But, when it comes to the physicality of the sport. There are differences between men’s and women’s soccer.

For example, a recent study on high school sports concussions found women soccer players to be at a greater risk of concussion than even football players during some periods.

Determining the risk factor between women’s and men’s soccer involves considering the physical differences between the genders and societal and cultural factors. Let’s explore more!

Differences between Men’s and Women’s Soccer

Differences between Men's and Women's Soccer

Unlike many other sports, soccer rules remain the same across genders. The fields, goals, and balls are the same size, and matches are 90 minutes long for both genders. For referees, officials tend to be men in men’s soccer and women in women’s soccer.

Many differences between men’s and women’s soccer come from the players’ physiology.

Physically, men tend to be taller, heavier and have more muscle mass than women. This makes power and speed highly valued in men’s soccer, whereas women’s soccer is more about technique, strategy, and finesse.

Women’s Soccer Players Get More Injuries

Women's Soccer Players Get More Injuries

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital found that female athletes have a significantly increased risk of ACL injuries compared to males in the same sport.

This discrepancy comes from differences in hip structure when utilizing standard soccer kicking techniques. Unfortunately, this also contributes to problems with the knee and foot.

Concussions are also more common among women soccer players vs. men, and studies have shown that males underreport their concussions compared to women.

While soccer is not traditionally considered a high-contact sport, injuries can still occur. Women’s soccer has a higher risk of injuries such as ACL tears, ankle sprains, and concussions than men’s soccer.

There are various reasons, including the physical differences between men and women, the level of physicality in the sport, and the perceived gender norms surrounding women’s sports.

Inequality Among Women Athletes

Inequality Among Women Athletes

One factor that may contribute to the physicality of women’s soccer is the societal and cultural norms that have been engulfing women for generations.

Both on and off the field, women are often expected to be less aggressive and physically dominant. However, some physical therapists point out that the closed and reserved body language ingrained in women impacts their sports form and contributes to improper landings.

Additionally, women’s sports are often given less media coverage and fewer opportunities for sponsorship, which can lead to less investment in player safety and development.

For instance, during the 2021 NCAA Division I Basketball Championship, weight room disparities became quite apparent between the men’s and women’s teams.

The Future of Women’s Soccer

The Future of Women's Soccer

Despite the risks involved, women’s soccer has seen significant growth and development in recent years. For example, viewership of the NWSL Championship game grew by over 400% in 2021, and ESPN in 2022 reported growth “unlike any other sport.”

As women’s soccer continues to grow, there is potential for greater equality and recognition. This could lead to better opportunities for player safety and development and tremendous respect and recognition for the talented athletes who play the game.

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