This year the Minerva Network has partnered with the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) to continue our support of sportswomen and maximise their opportunities on and off the field. On Thursday we were hosted at the QAS where our Minerva QLD Chapter Lead, Dr. Sarah Kelly OAM led our Minerva athletes and mentors alongside the QAS community to engage in a candid discussion about women’s health in high performance.
Reflecting on the occasion, Sarah commented, “This topic is important, under-researched and under-discussed but affects all sportswomen and performance. The event enabled a safe space for athletes and coaches to exchange experiences and expertise on issues such as pregnancy, hormones and science relating to sportswomen and illuminated a need to continue this critical conversation for coaches, athletes, researchers and sports.”
Minerva was fortunate to have a diverse expert panel emceed by 4x Olympian Bronwen Knox OLY, also a Minerva athlete. The panel included sports scientist and AFLW and Diamonds Netball strength and conditioning coach Dr. Tannath Scott, Gynaecologist Dr Graham Tronc, Physiotherapist Catherine McArthur OLY and Olympian and Minerva athlete Alyce Wood OLY.
This event provided the opportunity for a sincere and engaging discussion about breaking down the barriers of women's health within high performance. Barriers were acknowledged with advice and personal experience provided by specialists to equip athletes with the tools and knowledge to explore their own health and how it can impact performance.
Diverse topics were covered by the expert panelists speaking to the importance of continual education for sportswomen before, during and after their sporting career. Topics covered included the latest research on female performance in relation to anatomy, bio mechanics and hormones. Also discussed was menstruation and managing pain, as well as pregnancy - pre and post-natal care.
QAS athlete and Paralympian Katja Dedekind PLY said, "I really enjoyed the workshop, hearing from both athletes and specialists, bringing both our sporting world and the female body together. All questions I heard, prompted more, and started up new discussions where ideas were then brought forth. It's important that we had this workshop to make ourselves aware of our health, and if this topic could be spread wider still, I feel our sporting experience as women would be more positive and enjoyable.“
Along with many athletes, QAS support staff attended the event to gain a better understanding of how they can help support their athlete’s health throughout their sporting career.
Michelle Mitchell, OAM OLY, QAS Athlete Wellbeing & Engagement Senior Lead added, "This forum highlighted we have a long way to go in normalising and discussing women's health in women's sport. The topics discussed are real issues women face in sport on a daily basis. Tonight highlighted that education is key to all stakeholders involved in sport and the importance of support required for women to excel at a high level in order to thrive."
As well as facilitating an educational experience for athletes, this event offered the opportunity for Minerva athletes and mentors to network with QAS staff and athletes, fostering connections across sports and athlete experience.
Minerva looks forward to upcoming collaborative events with QAS including the June workshops "Your Money, Your Future", being held in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast. These workshops will provide athletes with insights and skills to navigate tax, superannuation, an ABN and practical financial guidance on an athlete's salary.
To hear more about the upcoming workshops or to join the Minerva Network please contact us via email: email@example.com