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Description of Potential Gender-Specific Factors Influencing Injury and Performance in Professional Female Football Athletes

Miller, Maddison (2022) Description of Potential Gender-Specific Factors Influencing Injury and Performance in Professional Female Football Athletes. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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INTRODUCTION: The Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) is a professional Women’s
American football tackle league. This is an understudied population and no study, to date, has
reported on female football players. The purpose of this study was to describe variables related to
performance and injury risk in professional women’s football teams and compare these variables.
METHODS: Eighty-seven female football players (age: 32.56 ± 7.47 years) from the WFA league
participated in the study. A survey was administered through Qualtrics with questions pertaining
to sports participation and injury, menstruation, contraception, mental health, and nutrition.
Independent sample t-tests and Fishers exact tests were used to assess associations between
variables. Frequency distributions were also used to assess trends present in the population.
RESULTS: Frequency distribution of respondents for Division I was 48.3%, Division II with
31.8% and Division III 37.9%. Participants were from the Northeast (40), Midwest (32), South
(9), and West (6). Most participants (37.9%) had less than one year of experience playing
professional football and 50.6% of participants sustained an injury between April 2019 and
February 2022. Age was not significantly different (p=value: 0.624) between injured and uninjured
participants. Almost half had a mental health disorder with anxiety being the most frequent. There
were no statistically significant differences (p-value: 0.060) between proportion of respondents
with a diagnosed mental health disorder among regions. There were no statistically significant
differences between proportions of respondents with mental health counselor access among
divisions (p=value: 0.391). Just over half used contraception at some point throughout their life
with the pill being the most common form. Over 50% of the participants rarely or never ate oily
or white fish, so some nutritional deficiencies, like omega-3 fatty acids, may be present in the diet.
CONCLUSION: The results of this study provide insight to sex-specific characteristics related to
health, injury, and performance in a female football athlete population. Future research should
prospectively investigate the relationship of these variables with injury and performance in order
to optimize training and resources for these athletes.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Miller, Maddisonmlm287@pitt.edumlm287
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorAllison, Katelyn
Committee MemberMurray, Mary
Committee MemberDarnell, Matthewmed30@pitt.eduMED30
Committee MemberLovalekar,
Date: 22 June 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 15 March 2022
Approval Date: 22 June 2022
Submission Date: 18 April 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 108
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Sports Medicine and Nutrition
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Survey-based study of women in a football population
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2022 22:03
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2022 22:03


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