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Sports medicine boost – Plugging research gap

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A $1 million donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the University of Washington Medical School has established an endowed chair dedicated to the study of women’s sports medicine.

The chair will focus on research, treatment and education, and aims to bridge a gap in medical information and public education about serious sports-related injuries to women.

Women are six times more likely than men to require surgery for sports injuries such as knee damage and stress fractures, and four times more likely to have a season-ending injury.

The need for research on physical issues related to female athletes is increasing, the foundation says. The number of female athletes at all levels has grown steadily the nearly two decades since federal law required schools to devote equal attention to sports for men and women.

Until recently, female athletes received the same treatments for their injuries as their male counterparts — in spite of differences in anatomy, bone density and hormones.

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