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#LeadHerForward: National Girls and Women in Sports Day

MDW is proud to celebrate and honor women and girls in sports all over the world! In the pursuit of equality for women in all capacities, today we shine the spotlight on National Girls and Women in Sports Day.

Did you know sports-related research for the specific health needs for athletes has mostly focused on males from ages 18-22 years-old? That's a considerable gap to navigate when practitioners are treating female athletes.

A passionate group of female health care providers has emerged in the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, on a mission to boost awareness and rally support for women's health.

Dr. Kayla Fujimoto Epperson, Dr. Jenna Tarran, and Dr. Brynn Rooney know first-hand as female doctors of physical therapy and former collegiate athletes the unmet needs and opportunities for improving the health of female athletes.

(From left to right) Dr. Kayla Fujimoto Epperson, Dr. Brynn Rooney, and Dr. Jenna Tarran

As a board-certified specialist in sports physical therapy, pelvic health physical therapist and the owner of Within Reach Health, Dr. Rooney and her team know sports injuries affect all aspects of life and health including social, emotional and physical health. And with girls leaving sports earlier than boys, this trio of physical therapists can’t afford to give them another reason to stop playing.

"With the recent conversations and national movement about equity for female athletes, thanks to the World Champion US Women’s National Soccer Team and postpartum athletes like Serena Williams, we strongly believe that equity in sports also includes awareness and resources specific to the female athlete’s health needs," says Dr. Rooney.

In fact, Dr. Rooney shared in her recent article about female health care needs that girls are more likely to suffer many sport-related injuries such as ACL tears, concussions, and stress fractures than their male counterparts. 

Dr. Rooney talks to parents of a girls high school cross-country team on the Female Athlete Triad/Relative Energy Deficiency in Sports

"Young female athletes hit growth spurts, prepuberty and puberty earlier than male athletes. This changes A LOT of things for the young female athlete including body control, strength, body composition, movement quality, and confidence," explains Dr. Rooney.

So, what's a girl to do?

Practitioners, athletes, and women all over the world are raising awareness about equity in female health in sports today fueled by a campaign from The Women's Sports Foundation (WSF). Acting now as advocates of future generations both in the sports arena and in life, the WSF’s latest report, Chasing Equity: The Triumphs, Challenges, and Opportunities in Sports for Girls and Women hones in on whether we're really achieving gender equity and a call to action to rally change in the form of up-to-date, real-time information.

"Only when we operate from a shared understanding of the landscape can we ensure thoughtful conversation and sound decision-making necessary for progress. From playing fields to board rooms, girls and women continue to live out their passion for sport. As these accomplishments are celebrated, let’s continue to examine the gaps and opportunities to ensure that all girls and all women can get in the game. Only then will we be able to realize the full potential unleashed by sport. All girls. All women. All sports." - Dr. Deborah Antoine, CEO of Women’s Sports Foundation

Want to join in on the discussion?

Within Reach Health will be hosting a live panel discussion on keeping youth and teen athletes healthy and thriving with the holistic panel discussion Stay in the Game on March 16, 2020, in Downers Grove, Illinois.


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