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Disparity in team funding related to women’s injuries?

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In sports, injuries happen every day. It seems like a professional athlete blows out a knee on a daily basis. On the collegiate level, injuries are less frequent, because athletes are not playing as often. However this winter some teams have been hit by the injury bug. Two women’s teams have been hurt by injuries in different ways. Is this random? Or is it due to a disparity in funding between men and women’s sports? Why is the administration not funding men and women’s sports equally?

No team on this campus has dealt with the number of injuries that the Women’s Basketball team has endured this year. They have struggled because many of their top players have been hurt for some portion of the season. Their record is 4-16 going into the weekend, which isn’t ideal, but it doesn’t reflect the full story.

Just as professional sports teams rebuild, this squad has been able to play many of the young players, including Sara Waldfogel ’18, Maddie Talamantes ’19 and Cece Leone ’19. This year might be lost, but getting young players as much playing time as possible can help build for the future. Additionally, this team is very young; there are 14 players on the team that are either a sophomore or freshman. I would not be surprised if this team, with its healthy starters, became a force in the MIAC for the next two to three years. Injuries are unfortunate, but they might lead to better days in the future.

Starting the season off with strong wins, the woman’s tennis team looks like a contender for the MIAC crown. However, over the past couple years the woman’s tennis team has also experienced crucial injuries to their team. With a smaller lineup every injury has a larger effect on the composition of the starting lineup.

Kayla Becich, a senior on the tennis team, said, “Players with a lot of potential are consistently hurt, which weakens our lineup. With a fully healthy roster we would be an even stronger team. Everyone being healthy would help on match day, as well as the competitiveness of our practices, which are crucial.”

What the casual sports fan doesn’t think about is how the daily grind of training, usually occurring during the off-season, is the most important point of the year. Injuries derail progress and can affect a team on a daily basis. For a team that plays year around, nagging injuries can often times be recurrent and sideline players for weeks or months on end. Unfortunately, this is inevitable in sports. Nevertheless, this women’s tennis team is hitting their stride, with an array of experienced core players they will be a force to be reckoned with, injuries or no injuries.

Every single athlete has dealt with some degree of an injury.

They are not fun to deal with on a daily basis, but the time spent rehabbing can lead to a well-rounded athlete. Women’s tennis and Women’s Basketball are at different points in their success and they will have very different records at the end of the year. This does not mean one is better than the other, rather it means that they will hit their peak at different times.

But what causes these injuries? This is a complex question that may be impossible to answer. But, on the other hand, if Men’s basketball players are receiving $500 more per athlete than the women’s team, (see figure above), could this money make the difference? On average, Carleton women’s sports are receiving less funding per team and per athlete. This could translate to less access to trainers, medical equipment, or coaches. Nevertheless, on some level injuries are random, but could a discrepancy in the amount of funding make a difference? Possibly.

For now we should advocate for equalizing the amount of money the school pays for Men and Women athletes. It is 2016, this should not be a question, it should be a priority. Men and Women’s sports are just as important as each other. Therefore, it is the job of the administration to right this wrong. If unequal funding is the cause of even one injury, there needs to be a change in the system. You may not care about sports but this is an important issue that needs to be improved.

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