A vicious cycle
Speaking on ABC’s ‘7.30’, Jackson noted that as women are paid less, they need to play year round to make an income. And that increases the risk of serious injuries.
"That's the problem with women's sport and why we all get injured and hurt is because we have to play 12 months a year so we can make money to live." - Lauren Jackson
The injury issue isn’t confined to basketball, with a number of studies looking into the rate of ACL tears in women’s football.
A 13 year study of ACL injuries amongst football players in the NCAA American College system found women are three times more likely to do the injury than males, while even more alarmingly, this FIFA guide for women claims that female players suffer ACL injuries up to ten times more often than men.
There’s a lot of difference research out there, but no matter which you look at, numbers are always higher for women.
Meanwhile, this report notes that in all sports, the rate of ACL injury is anywhere from two to eight times higher for female athletes.
General technique, muscle strength, anatomic differences, and poorer pitch quality are often named as factors. But the idea that year-rounds schedules can compound the risk of injury is rarely brought up.
Jackson herself tore an ACL in 2013, as has fellow basketball star Penny Taylor. Australian Opals centre Marianna Tolo is currently on the come back from the injury, while Liz Cambage spent a long stint on the sidelines with a ruptured achilles tendon.