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February 24, 1940

Sport, Physical Training and Womanhood

Author Affiliations

By Stephan K. Westmann, M.D., L.R.C.S., L.R.C.P. With a foreword by Sir Kaye Le Fleming, M.A., M.D., Member and Vice-Chairman, Medical Sub-Committee, National Fitness Council, England. Cloth. Price, $4. Pp. 222, with 73 illustrations. Baltimore: William Wood & Company, 1939.

JAMA. 1940;114(8):683. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810080055031

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This astonishing volume, written by a physician who appears to have been trained in Germany, impels the reader to turn to the title page to discover whether its date is 1889 but he finds it printed as 1939. Further, he discovers that the author is set down as eminent both as an obstetrician and as an athlete. But his astonishment is abated no whit, for the author's principal thesis is that girls and women should not engage in competitive sports lest their child bearing be made impossible or difficult.

This thesis is supported by statements such as the following: "The champion of today, in all probability, has already suffered injuries that will bring her tomorrow to a doctor's consulting room... with health shattered." "Many competitive sports necessitate sexual abstention for men while training." "Too much activity in sports of a masculine character causes the female body to become more like

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