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Empowering female athletes in 2019

“When I go to the Boston Marathon now, I have wet shoulders—women fall into my arms crying. They’re weeping for joy because running has changed their lives. They feel they can do anything.”

In 1967, 20-year-old Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to complete the all-male Boston Marathon as an official entrant. Registered as ‘K.V. Switzer’, Kathrine hid her gender and participated under entry number 261 with Syracuse University athletic club. She managed to fight off a race official who tried to force her from the course after only several kilometres, and made history as she crossed the finish line four hours later. Empowered by her experience, Kathrine became determined to create change for all women and campaigned to officially allow women to participate in the Boston marathon – which finally happened in 1972.

Five decades and many marathons later, Kathrine is still running and is actively advancing women’s sport, health and equality.This year in June, Kathrine will be sharing how she has dedicated her career to creating greater opportunities for women in sport at the 4thbiennial Female Athlete Conference in Boston. Kathrine will be presenting alongside a world-class line up of local and international experts on women’s sport and exercise medicine, coaching, leadership and culture.

Since Kathrine’s historic day in 1967, opportunities for female participation in sports and physical activity have increased dramatically – but there is still much work to be done. Girls and women everywhere continue to face discrimination in access to sports as athletes and spectators, and suffer from inequalities at all levels of sporting competition and health care.

The 2019 Female Athlete conference is designed to empower all women through sport and present strategies to prevent and treat clinical issues and injuries specific to female athletes. This three-day conference centres on the specific health issues that make female athletes unique.

When it comes to female athlete health, we need to think beyond just Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) and ACL injuries. We need to think about broader issues such as reproductive health, physical activity during pregnancy, motherhood and transition in and out of sport. As girls and young women become more active in sports and physical activity generally, we need to advance research on how sex and gender differences affect their performance and overall sports experience. This conference is meant to share the science and provide networking opportunities to improve female athletes’ training, confidence, and motivation to advance their success on and off the field.

Keynote speakers include:

Dr Cheri Blauwet, MD

Attending Physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School
Seven-time Paralympic medallist in wheelchair racing
Two-time Boston marathon winner

Listen to Dr Blauwet discuss SEM in elite disability sport: https://soundcloud.com/bmjpodcasts/sport-1st-disability-2nd-paralympian-cheri-blauwet-discusses-sem-in-elite-disability-sport-322

Dr Phathokuhle Zondi, MD

Sport and exercise medicine physician
CEO Sports Science Institute of South Africa
Director of the South African Institute for Drug Free Sports
Past president South African Sports Medicine Association

BJSM Inside Track: https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2018/10/19/bjsports-2018-099668

Allie Kieffer

Professional American distance runner
Positive body image activist

Sports illustrated article: https://www.si.com/edge/2018/11/03/allie-kieffer-speaks-out-against-body-shaming-new-york-city-marathon-stephanie-bruce

 

Female Athlete Conference
Boston June 6-8

Find out more here: https://bostonchildrens.cloud-cme.com/default.aspx?P=1&EID=910

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