Women athletes come to Xavier dreaming of big wins and hearty workouts. But one of the first things they’re asked to do is to jump off an eight-inch box. As they jump, head athletic trainer Jody Jenike videotapes. Every motion of the body is then analyzed to determine those at risk for knee injuries and what type of strength training or rehabilitation program each athlete needs.
The goal, Jenike says, is to avoid the traumatic knee injuries that plague female athletes at a rate as much as nine times greater than their male counterparts. Theories about why women athletes suffer more knee problems range from physiological differences in strength and skeletal structure to the fact that women’s strength training in high school is lacking. “By the time they get to us, they’ve had one or two injuries,” Jenike says. “We’re just trying to figure out why and what factors you can control.”