Andy Gray and Richard Keys take note – women footballers really do get stuck in during games and can take MORE PAIN than men, new research revealed today.
Scientists claim to have proved that women in sport play through harsher pain thresholds than men – pick up the same injuries, but battle through the agony.
So while Cristiano Ronaldo maybe writhing around on the floor in pain – often after just the slightest touch from an opponent – his female counterpart will be back on her feet.
Experts believe the difference is down to psychological differences in the way the genders process pain – with women toughening up to ”prove” they can play the game.
The research, on the back of a study with the England women’s football team, will comes as a bitter pill to disgraced broadcasters Richard Keys and Andy Gray.
The Sky Sports duo were suspended this week after making sexist off-air comments about female linesman Sian Massey while their microphones were switched on.
Veteran presenter Keys, 53, was heard saying: ”Somebody better get down there and explain offside to her.”
But sociologists from the University of the West of England (UWE) have shown the pair’s outdated attitudes the red card in their latest research findings.
The researchers carried out 41 interviews with players from the England women’s team, an FA Centre of Excellence, a college team and a Football Academy team.
Players ranged in age from under 10s to adult players.
Sociologist John Bird, head of the research team, said: ”I looked at the factors that affect the way girl and women footballers understand, discuss and manage their pain and injury and how far they disclose pain and injury to support staff.
”I found that girl and women players often minimise pain and injury when they talk about injuries they have had.
”They believe they have to ignore injuries, for example, to keep their place on the team or to support the team.
”They come to see pain and injury as an occupational hazard.”
The study found that although women may not experience more sports related injuries than men, their inclination to ”tough it out” was hampering research on the subject.
They discovered women also suffer more anterior cruciate ligament injuries – the ligament that stabilises the knee – than men through too much sporting activity.
Experts concluded that the women footballers believe they have to be risk-takers to keep their place on the team and did not want to let other players down.
John Bird added that they saw injuries as being an ”occupational hazard” and were negative about those who quit due to knocks.
He said: ”In the elite system between the ages of 8-9 when they start, and 14-15, the girls are socialised into an understanding of pain and injury, learn to normalise pain and become tough risk takers.
”Having injuries that are not correctly diagnosed can lead to players developing chronic problems later on.
”While these factors may equally apply to boy’s and men’s football, the women’s game has fewer rewards, poorer facilities and because the game is associated with masculinity, women often feel they have to prove themselves, by for example being more tolerant of pain than the men.
”I discovered that there is a lot of pain and injury that does not get reported, and is accepted by the players.”