Last month I headed down to Melbourne to attend the Women in Sport Congress (WISC) at the MCG. The ‘G’, arguably Australia’s greatest sporting stadium, was the perfect venue to hear from industry leaders about key issues faced by women in sport and the latest research. With the growth of women’s rugby, football, soccer and more, this three-day congress aimed to boost the support offered to athletes and participants in women’s sport.
The WISC covered six important topics:
- Leadership and inclusion: Getting and keeping women and girls in sport and why and how women should get into leadership positions in sport.
- Menstrual and pelvic health: Its impact on performance and health, and how to recognise and manage RED-S.
- Performance and coaching: Factors that make a good coach and training environment for women and girls.
- Injury prevention and rehabilitation: What works and how to implement in all settings.
- Breast health, pregnancy and return to sport: Considerations and strategies to enhance the health of the female athlete.
- Women and girls of all abilities: Supporting female athletes of all abilities and promoting sport in women from isolated communities.
There was so much to takeaway from the three days, but a special mention must be given to all the amazing resources available. Here are just a few:
AIS Female Performance & Health Initiative (FPHI)
Female athletes have unique characteristics that are influenced by hormonal changes throughout their live and these can impact an athlete’s performance and health throughout their career and beyond. The FPHI combines expert knowledge, opinions of athletes and the experiences of athletes to develop solutions to the health, wellbeing and performance challenges off female athletes. FPHI is for athletes, coaches, parents, sporting organisation and support staff in sport. Take a look at FPHI.
Body Confident Collective
Is a health promotion charity, which aims to create a safer body image environment for the next generation by promoting the latest body image research. This fantastic initiative offers education for athletes, professionals, families and schools. Take a look at all the Body Confident Collective has to offer.
There are so many great sport specific programs available like The Football Australia Perform+, which was developed in 2020 using the 11+ program for ACL injury prevention. Perform+ however, has more flexibility for coaches and new content targeting hip and groin injury prevention. Perform+ instructional posters can be downloaded here. In AFL, Prep-to-Play is a warm-up program designed to maximise performance an reduce injuries, while Activate is a similar program injury prevention exercise program for rugby. Netball Australia also offers the KNEE program to reduce the amount of lower limb injuries
To be comfort in sport, women need a sports bra that is designed properly and fitted correctly. Breast Cancer Research has developed a Sports Bra Tool to assist women of all ages, breast sizes and activity levels independently choose a sports bra design that fits correctly and provides adequate comfort and support. The tool is supported by the Australian Institute of Sport. You’ll find the Sports Bra Tool here. For more information about Breast Research Australia visit their website.