The NFL is a man’s world where each and every man is out on the field to show off his athleticism. Every aspect of the game, whether it is on the field or on the side lines, is predominately male. However, there is an area of the NFL that women could become a part of. Women could become athletic trainers for the NFL. An athletic trainer is a health care specialist that focuses on prevention of injury and rehab to recuperate athletes (Summary).
Currently there are no women employed in the NFL although one woman used to work for the Pittsburgh Steelers (Mihoces). There are many people that agree that women should be able to work in the NFL, but there are also many people that do not believe women belong in the NFL. Pros
The first argument from the people for women working with the NFL is that every athletic trainer must meet the same requirements. If male and female athletic trainers alike have to meet the same requirements, then that makes women just as competent as men. The same courses in college must be taken, with the same lab and clinical work (Bronner). To be in pro or college sports, a master’s degree is also required. In 48 of the 50 states, some sort of government paperwork and testing is also required.
In most states, to become an athletic trainer, you must take a test and fill out paperwork to become licensed. In a few others, an aspiring athletic trainer will only have to fill out paperwork. In figure 1, the map is showing what every state requires to be an athletic trainer. If women are good enough to get the degrees and pass all of the tests, they should be good enough to work for the NFL.
A second argument is that athletic training is just a health care profession (Summary). It is not the same as drafting a female athlete to play on the team. An athletic trainer is like a physical therapist that is sports oriented. Men have women physical therapists on a daily basis. How is having a female athletic trainer in the NFL any different than a man having a female physical therapist?
The answer is that there is no difference. An athletic trainer does not perform full-body physicals like a doctor, so the players will not be compromised. There are plenty of females in the health care profession, and athletic training fits into that same category. An athletic trainer’s primary reason of being there is to heal or prevent injury. Their main reason is not to socialize or make friends with the athletes. Women have the capability of being authoritative and firm, while at the same time tending to the players’ needs.
The last argument that will be presented for the hiring of women in the NFL is that there are several women who are employed in universities and high schools nation-wide that are the head athletic trainer for the schools’ football teams. Ariko Iso (see Figure 2), ironically the first woman in the NFL, left the Pittsburgh Steelers pro football team and became the head football trainer at Oregon State University (Mihoces).
Sue Falsone, the only head female athletic trainer in pro-male sports, says, “I’m really not sure why you don’t see more women in these positions [pro-sports athletic trainers] because when you look at high school and college, even Division I schools, there are female physical therapists everywhere” (Sorlie).If women can work for football teams in the collegiate setting, they should be given that same opportunity on the professional football teams. Cons
An argument used to show the opposite viewpoint, is that treatment and care of the players sometimes requires the athletic trainer to be present in the locker room. If the athletic trainer is a woman, it makes the players and the coaches extremely uncomfortable. It is unnerving to have a woman in the same room while players are showering and changing. It is also awkward for the female athletic trainer to be present when men all around her are changing and showering.
A second argument for those who oppose is that women are seen as pushovers in the training room. Stereotypically, women are seen as dainty, elegant people that cannot stand up in an authority position over the gigantic football brutes. Likewise, it is awkward for a female athletic trainer to demonstrate her power over the coach. If the athletic trainer believes that the team needs a water break, it is his or her obligation to inform the coach, and sometimes it can get pretty dicey between the athletic trainer and the coach.
Also, if an athletic trainer will not clear a player to be able to return to play, the coach and the athletic trainer can become very argumentative and irrational. If the athletic trainer is female, the coach believes that she will hold grudges like most other females they know.
The final argument is that women can be a distraction to the players. If there is a female on the field, the players could get distracted and not be able to focus clearly on the task at hand. Almost following the same line, there is a big hazard potential. Sexual harassment is a big issue in any work environment, but imagine how much more of a hazard this would be.
The hazard potential of sexual harassment drastically increases when there is only one or two women employed on a team where there are about sixty men. By not hiring women into the NFL, all of the hazard potential for sexual harassment is eliminated and completely avoided. This argument is full of holes. Sexual harassment is something that could potentially happen in every work environment. People just need to realize that there are boundaries that should not be crossed. Conclusion
Athletic training has been around for several decades, and for the most part has been dominantly a male’s job, especially when it came to professional male sports. Women should be given a chance in the NFL, because they are just as competent and qualified as males, it is just another health care profession, and several women are head football athletic trainers in universities and high schools nation-wide.
Reasons for opposing allowing women to work in the NFL are that locker room experiences are awkward for the athletic trainer, the coaches and the staff. A couple more reasons for opposing are that women are seen as pushovers in the training room and on the field, and a sexual hazard. After all that has been stated, I believe that women should be given a chance to become athletic trainers for the NFL, because it is the fair and lawful thing to do. Works Cited
Bronner, Sasha. “MY LA: Dodger’s Athletic Trainer Talks Probiotics, ‘Pulp Fiction’ And The Magic Of Opening Day.” The Huffington Post.
TheHuffingtonPost.com, 15 Nov. 2011. Web. 30 Sept. 2012.
Mihoces, Gray. “USATODAY.com-Training Leads to Big Break.” USATODAY.com Training Leads to Big Break. USA Today, 06 Aug. 2002. Web. 30 Spet. 2012. Sorlie, Amy. “Meet L.A.’s Sue Falsone: Only Female Head Trainer in Pro
SI.com. Sports Illustrated, 10 Apr. 2012. Web. 30 Sept. 2012. “Status of Athletic Training Licensure.” Status of Athletic Training Licensure. National Athletic Training Association, n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2012 “Summary.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2012.