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B. A Crucial Ligament for Female Athletes

Narrator: This is Science Today. Sports involving lots of jumping and twisting put a lot of strain on the knee - particularly the anterior crucial ligament, which runs behind the kneecap to connect the shin and thighbones. Dr. Robert Pedowitz a sports medicine specialist at the University of California, San Diego, says young women are at higher risk for this type of injury.

Pedowitz: That's been shown through the NCAA database, where they track injury rates as a function of the number of hours of participation. They've looked at men and women basketball players and men and women soccer players - those are two sports that are quite demanding in terms of cutting and twisting and pivoting. And women have up to four or five times as high injury rate to the ACL as men do.

Narrator: Pedowitz says this may be due to a difference in how male and female muscles are activated.

Pedowitz: Women may have a different balance in the muscles that work to extend the knee versus the muscles that work to flex the knee.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.