Updated: Oct 24, 2022
Cherokee County School Board moves to protect female athletes from "unfair advantage" and injury.
by: Sloan Rachmuth
“A wise legislature does not go out looking for social issues to tap,” said Republican House leader Tim Moore when he declined to put the Save Women’s Sports Act up for a vote last year. Moore said the House would not consider legislation prohibiting biological males from competing against girls in school sports without examples.
An example can now be found in Cherokee County.
During a girls' tournament last month, a male Highlands High volleyball player pelted a female Hiwassee Dam High player in the forehead with the ball during a return.
The Hiwassee Dam player, a biological girl, suffered severe head and neck injuries, resulting in long-term concussion symptoms, including vision problems. The girl has still not yet been cleared to play again by her primary care physician or a neurologist.
With a 5-1 vote, the Cherokee County Board of Education declared the event a "safety issue" and canceled all remaining games against Highlands High.
The perspective of a longtime coach swayed Cherokee Board Member Joe Wood:
“I’ll never put a child in a position to be seriously injured,” Wood said.
“I think the odds (of injury) in these non-contact sports aren’t high. But in particular, in this meeting, a coach of 40 years said they’d never seen a hit like this. That was really what sealed the decision, at least on my part.”
The coach, who had "never seen a hit like this before," had just witnessed the power of a biological male's overhand return into a teen girl's skull.
Board vice chair Jeff Martin:
“The competitive advantage issue certainly has to come up in any scenario with that type of transgender conversion, per se,” Martin said. “I can tell you that the board wasn’t searching out this kind of thing. It was brought to our attention based on safety concerns.
Board member Jeff Tatham:
“The biggest thing for us, especially after seeing the video of the injury, we felt very strongly that it was a safety concern,” Tatham said. “I think most of the board members also felt like there’s a competitive advantage issue.
Biological boys playing against girls on the volleyball team is dangerous and unfair, as these Cherokee Board Members correctly pointed out. This fact is supported by studies (and common sense).
A study of players in an international competition revealed that males are significantly more effective than females at “attacking” the ball toward their opponent's side. A player's body momentum generates incredible power on jump ball returns, and that's a natural advantage for males. Check out the video again to see the maneuver where the male player spiked the ball into the Hiwassee Dam's player's face for example.
The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research also confirmed male dominance in the sport. The jump height and explosive power of males are significantly higher than those of females, according to scientists.
The nation’s major athletic conferences make an attempt to level the playing field, so to speak, between males competing against females.
Among the NCAA's requirements is testosterone suppression treatment for one year. Within four weeks of championship selections for a sport, a serum testosterone level that falls below the maximum allowable level must be documented.
In order to participate in USA Volleyball leagues for 13-18-year-olds, males' testosterone levels must be within normal female reference ranges (for the age range) for at least six months.
Are these guidelines enough to stop males from dominating females in the pool, on the track, or on the court? No. As we saw from the Lia Thomas affair, males can benefit from enhanced lung capacity, larger hands and feet, and greater strength even under testosterone suppression.
By passing legislation that prohibits biological males from playing against female student-athletes, we can level the playing field in girls' sports and help keep them safe.