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Women athletes' health in the spotlight at national conference

18 August 2022

Today world-leading health experts will come together at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to share ground-breaking research around women’s health in sport, in an effort to boost the support offered to athletes and participants.

Audience listening to MC speak at event
300 health experts gather at the MCG for day two of the congress

The inaugural Women in Sport Congress runs for three days and is a joint initiative between La Trobe University’s Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre (LASEM) and the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Female Performance and Health Initiative.

Co-chair of the Congress and LASEM Director Professor Kay Crossley said now is the time to elevate women’s sport in all areas including health, medicine, administration, leadership, coaching and research.

“We’re now at an inflection point. There’s been an explosion of interest in women’s rugby, football, soccer and more – and we need to be ensure we have the best up-to-date research on hand to support all women in sport,” Professor Crossley said.

“As part of this congress we’ll be exploring research topics such as menstrual cycles, pregnancy, pelvic floor and breast health as well as discussing leadership, inclusion and accessibility for women in sport.''

AIS Female Performance and Health Initiative Project Lead Dr Rachel Harris said the congress is an opportunity to highlight the incredible research academics are undertaking.

“We have a high performance system calling out to better support our athletes and their needs with the best available research so we wanted to showcase all the great work that is now coming to the forefront,” Dr Harris said.

“Our high performing athletes and the systems that support them want to know how to improve performance, future plan for families and pregnancies and optimise their short and long-term health.

“They deserve best practice and evidence-based information, so we need to ensure we are advocating for them and producing high-quality research.''

Professor of Sports Medicine at LASEM Dr Peter Brukner OAM echoed this: “Women’s sport is going ahead in leaps and bounds and we need to meet it with the right support and expertise.”

Key themes of the congress include:

  • Leadership and inclusion
  • Menstrual cycle: hormone profiles, phases and health
  • Performance and coaching
  • Injury prevention and rehabilitation
  • Accessibility for all women
  • Pelvic floor health, breast health and pregnancy

Each theme has dedicated keynote presentations, new research and panel discussions across the three-day event. The full program of speakers is available on the Women In Sport Congress website

About La Trobe University Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre (LASEM):

La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre (LASEM) is a world-leading collaborative centre for sport and exercise medicine research. LASEM strongly advocates sport and exercise medicine, physical activity, health and well-being for all, and is determined to translate research findings to key stakeholders including the international research community, health practitioners and the general public.

About AIS Female Performance and Health Initiative:

The AIS Female Performance & Health Initiative (FPHI) was established in October 2019, to improve women athlete specific knowledge and systems of support. The initiative benefits Australian athletes, coaches, parents, sporting organisations and support staff in the sport sector and raises awareness and understanding to key women athlete performance and health considerations.

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