Aug 24, 2022The Title IX Impact on Women Athlete’s Sport Studies
Many of the impacts Title IX has had on women are well-known, visible throughout society.
What about the impacts of women playing sports that aren’t known, though? And what might that mean for our society in the coming decades?
A recent article from MedicalXpress.com from author Nancy Armour explores these questions and more.
Below is an excerpt from the MedicalXpress.com article.
Brain health and memory, bone density, joint stability, hormone levels during and after menopause—there is the possibility that playing sports in their younger years has a role in how women age, but we don’t know because most scientific findings are based on studies of men. As the first generation of women to benefit from Title IX reaches its 50s and 60s, that research gap will have real implications.
“How is this going to affect me? Will it affect me? No one knows!” said Michelle Akers, a star of the U.S. women’s teams that won the 1991 and 1999 World Cups as well as the first Olympic gold medal in 1996.
As it became increasingly apparent that repetitive head trauma was the cause of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in male athletes, particularly football and hockey players, Akers began wondering about the ramifications for her own career. Few players were better in the air than Akers, and many of her 105 goals came off headers.
A friend, Tara Galovski, was researching the link between traumatic brain injuries and domestic violence as director of the women’s health sciences division of the National Center for PTSD at the VA Boston Healthcare System. When Robert Stern, an expert in sports-related brain trauma at Boston University, told Akers he was trying to secure grant money for a new study that would specifically include female athletes and asked if she would help spread the word, Akers said yes.
Stern’s Head Impact and Trauma Surveillance Study will examine the brain health of 4,800 people who played football or soccer and are now 40 or older, with female soccer players making up a quarter of the study subjects. HITSS began accepting participants in March, and all 4,800 study subjects must be enrolled within two years.