Transgender athletes



Daily Telegraph

Letters To The Editor

sir – There is continuing controversy about the participation of transgender athletes in women’s sport, and how to support one cohort without adversely affecting another (“Women condemn trans proposal”, Sport, January 21). As a consultant orthopaedic surgeon who has specialised in lower limb – often sporting – injuries for the past 25 years, I am aware of the anatomical and physiological differences between the sexes. In terms of cardiorespiratory physiology and anatomy, the maximum male cardiac output is 24 litres per minute, and the maximum female is 18 litres per minute. The maximum male lung capacity is six litres and the average for females is 4.5 litres. Those born biologically male (XY) therefore have a significant advantage over those born biologically female (XX), regardless of hormone status. From my own speciality, the differences in pelvic and knee anatomy result in different loads and frequencies of injury between the sexes. Female athletes carry an increased risk of anterior cruciate ligament rupture of between three to eight times that of male athletes, depending on the sport played. Sports governing bodies might consider the above when coming to a decision on how best to support transgender athletes without putting female (XX) athletes at risk or at a disadvantage. Mike Wilkinson London SW14