When I started to write about sports injuries, I envisioned my reader as someone like me: a former college athlete, middle-aged and, well, male. But women immediately started telling me how much they care about the subject. A bookstore owner talked about injuries on her softball team. A literary agent told me upper body training helped her survive a 50-kilometer run. And so on.
The experience reminded me how easy it is to fall into prejudices about who does sports — and who needs help with sports injuries. That thought came to mind again recently when the New Republic quoted Obama saying, “If I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football.” The possibility that his daughters might want to play apparently never occurred to him.
No one I know has struggled with such attitudes more than my friend Jill Caryl Weiner, who seems to have played just about every sport you can name and has wounds to show for it. Even when she could still play football, she sometimes had trouble being taken seriously by her teammates. In the New York Times, she tells the poignant tale of pestering her quarterback to pass to her and then making a diving catch to win the game… only to tear ligaments in her shoulder.