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INTRODUCTION

OBJECTIVES

After completion of this chapter, the physical therapist should be able to do the following:

HISTORY OF FEMALE ATHLETICS

The visibility and participation of the athletic female have grown dramatically over the past century, and are now established throughout the world. While the modern Olympic Games were founded in 1890, women were excluded from participation in the 1892 and 1896 Olympics. At that time, women’s sports were considered to be “against the laws of nature.”1,2 In the 1900 Paris Games, 15 women participated in lawn tennis and golf.3 In 1972, Title IX of the Educational Assistance Act was passed. This was a pivotal point in the history of U.S. education, affecting female participation in sports and exercise. Title IX states that “no person in the U.S. shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational program of action receiving federal financial assistance.”4 After Title IX, a 600% increase in the number of women participating in collegiate sports5–8 and a 990% increase in high school women’s athletic participation were seen.9

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