Can you imagine a world with no gender divisions in sports? University of Alabama at Birmingham sociologist Adrienne Milner can. Not only that — she wants to help make it happen. Along with University of Miami professor Dr. Jomills Henry Braddock II, she’s written a new book called “Sex Segregation in Sports: Why Separate Is Not Equal.” Our Alabama reporter caught up with her to ask what else she hopes to accomplish, and why.
Across the South, college football is in full swing. But football is just one of dozens of NCAA sports. In any season, student-athletes are pushing themselves on the field, in the gym, and in the classroom. They get scholarships and generate billions of dollars. But they also get hurt and struggle with their studies on top of what’s basically a demanding full-time job. In Part One of our series, “Pressure and Performance on the Field of Play,” our Alabama reporter looks at tensions between sports and academics, through the eyes of the athletes themselves.
You don’t have to be a scholar to know that African-Americans are heavily represented in contact sports like football and basketball, but underrepresented in “lifetime sports” like tennis or golf. Some casual observers have come up with simple explanations for that. But a University of Alabama at Birmingham sociologist and author who studies race and gender in sports says the reality is anything but simple, or fair. Adrienne Milner, who played college basketball until an injury ended her athletic career, tells the Southern Education Desk’s Dan Carsen that she’s intrigued by inequity in all fields, but sports are special for her area of focus, for a reason you might not guess.
More and more people are learning about the risks contact sports pose to the brain. So even here in the football-loving Deep South, parents and young athletes are wrestling with a serious dilemma, one that could affect them decades later: to play or not to play. To help parents facing that decision, our Alabama reporter got some personal perspective from families who’ve already faced sports-related concussions.