Cherokee county school board has canceled all high school volleyball games of all County High Schools against Highlands High School after a Hiwassee Dam High School female student was injured while playing Highlands High School.
The Cherokee County Schools Board Of Education stepped in and voted to cancel the games of all the county high schools against Highlands until further notice. This decision was made after a Hiwassee Dam High School student, who was not identified, suffered a serious injury while playing a game against Highlands.
The school board voted 5-1 to forfeit all matches for its schools’ women’s volleyball teams against Highlands School, who the unnamed transgender player plays for.
It’s estimated that the volleyball was thrown at 70mph – and was described as ‘abnormally’ fast by one bystander.
The Hiwassee Dam female player is still suffering from long-term concussion symptoms, including problems with her vision and has not been cleared to play.
The County will not participate in any volleyball games, varsity or junior varsity, against Highlands due to safety concerns,’ the minutes from the board’s meeting read.
The board has however not specified what the safety concerns were.
The athletic director from Hiwassee Dam High School, David Payne, was present at the meeting commented that ‘a statement needs to be made that it [was] unfair and unsafe’ for teams to compete against Highlands.
Highlands High School is located in Dalton, Georgia. Hiwassee Dam High School is located in Murphy, North Carolina.
The incident has re-ignited the conversation on whether biological male athletes have a competitive advantage over their female counterparts. The debate on this issue has been ongoing for years, with no clear consensus.
Some argue that males have a physical advantage over females, and thus should not be allowed to compete in women’s sports. Others argue that transgender athletes should be allowed to compete in the gender they identify with.
The issue took center stage this year with UPenn swimmer Lia Thomas, who is transgender, winning the 100 breaststroke at the Ivy League Championships. Thomas’s victory sparked a debate on whether transgender athletes should be allowed to compete in women’s sports.
Lia Thomas previously competed for Penn’s men’s swimming and diving team before competing for the women’s team beginning in the 2021-22 season.
There is also the high-profile cases of the weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, the first open trans women to compete in an Olympics.
Experts from Brazil have recently found that while transwomen, men who identify as women and have undergone hormone therapy, have less muscle mass than normal men they still have higher levels than biological women.
Scientists at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, wanted to assess the impact of long-term oestrogen therapy and the prior exposure to testosterone during puberty, on sporting performance.
To do this, they took a sample of 15 transgender women who had been on oestrogen therapy for an average of 14 years.
Their performance was then compared to 13 men and 14 women whose gender identity matched their biological sex at birth.
The participants, had an average age of 32 and similar levels of fitness, had their body fat and muscle mass recorded.
Heart and lung function was measured when participants were using a treadmill, while strength was assessed through hand grip tests.
The study found that transgender women have an advantage over cisgender women ( women whose gender identity matched their biological sex at birth) in terms of upper body strength, leg press, and VO2 max – a measure of the amount of oxygen that the body can utilize during exercise.
They found that total body fat was lower for transgender women than those born female but higher than it was among those born men.
That the findings ‘support the idea that trans women athletes have an advantage in events that require a higher VO2 max.’
The study’s release comes as the International Olympic Committee’s new transgender framework is under fire from medical experts who work for multiple sports federations, including World Athletics, World Triathlon and the International Cycling Union, who say it opens the door to unfair competition in female sport.
Previously, the IOC required transgender athletes to undergo surgery and two years of hormone therapy before they are eligible to compete in the Olympics.
The new rules relax these requirements, and would allow transgender athletes to compete in the Olympics without undergoing surgery.
Currently the NCAA has guidelines in place for transgender athletes competing in collegiate sports. These guidelines state that transgender athletes must undergo hormone therapy for at least a year before competing in the gender they identify with.
The NCAA’s guidelines are not mandatory, however, and schools can choose to make their own rules.
The Cherokee County School Board has not stated whether or not they will follow the NCAA’s guidelines. It is unclear how this incident will impact the ongoing debate on transgender athletes competing in women’s sports.