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Progress of Female Athlete Representation in Research Influencing International Conference on Concussion in Sport Consensus Statements: An Evidence Review

Sydney Asselstine, Jason Krystofiak, Michelle Gorbonosov, and Diana Toto

We aimed to quantify the representation of female athletes in research informing the fifth (Berlin 2016) and sixth (Amsterdam 2022) International Conference on Concussion in Sport consensus statements and analyze trends in progress between the statements. We identified all original research analyzed in each systematic review influencing the consensus statements and determined the percentage of female subjects for each study. Twenty-two systematic reviews and 1,161 original studies were reviewed (572 studies from Berlin 2016 and 1,089 from Amsterdam 2022). Both statements underrepresented females; however, there were significantly fewer studies with no female subjects in the 2022 statement, and more studies with a near equivalent (40%–60%) representation of females. While female athletes are still underrepresented within original research influencing international consensus statements, improvements are evident. We recommend a continued emphasis on female athlete representation and suggest a female-focused component of upcoming statements along with involvement from female predominant sponsoring associations.

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Effect of Training Model on the Physical Condition of Young Female Football Players

Salvador Pérez-Muñoz, Gema Alonso García, Laura Benito García, and Alberto Rodríguez-Cayetano

The aim of the study was to analyze the impact of two training models—the traditional methodology and an alternative or nonlinear mixed methodology—on coordination, speed, and changes of direction (COD) in U-12 football players. The subjects were divided into two groups: a traditional group of 11 female players and a second group of 14 female players, which followed a mixed methodology. Ten training sessions of 30 min were carried out focusing on motor coordination and COD. The variables analyzed were motor coordination with the SportComp test, COD with the Modified Agility test, and the Suttle Sprint and Dribbling test, with and without the ball, and speed over 30 m, with and without the ball. Overall, improvements were obtained in the mixed training program, leading to significant improvements (p < .05) in the variables of motor coordination, speed, and COD, with a large effect size. Therefore, coaches and physical trainers, taking into account that it causes greater benefits in the physical condition of female football players in training, than the traditional training program, can use the mixed training program.

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Fast and Slow Jump Training Methods Induced Similar Improvements in Measures of Physical Fitness in Young Females

Rohit K. Thapa, Bhargav Sarmah, Utsav Chaware, José Afonso, Jason Moran, Helmi Chaabene, and Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo

This study aimed to contrast the impacts of an exercise intervention using either bounce drop jump (DJ; fast stretch-shortening cycle exercise) or countermovement jump (CMJ; slow stretch-shortening cycle exercise) on measures of physical fitness in young females. A total of 23 young females (age: 19.7 ± 1.0 years, height: 159.8 ± 4.2 cm, body mass: 54.3 ± 14.3 kg) were randomly assigned to either DJ (n = 12) or CMJ (n = 11) training, which spanned 6 weeks. Pre- and posttraining assessments were conducted for 10 m and 30 m linear sprints, change-of-direction speed, CMJ, DJ (jump height, contact time, and reactive strength index), standing long jump, triple-hop distance, and isometric strength. Apart from the variance in jump technique, both interventions were standardized in terms of total repetitions, intensity, and surface type. No significant Group × Time effect was observed in any dependent variables (all p > .05). A significant time effect was observed in 10 m (p < .001, effect size [ES] = 0.70) and 30 m (p < .001, ES = 0.79) linear sprint, CMJ height (p = .012, ES = 0.34), DJ contact time (p = .012, ES = 0.34), and triple-hop distance (p = .006, ES = 0.38). Both DJ and CMJ training interventions led to comparable improvements in linear sprints, CMJ height, DJ contact time, and triple-hop distance. These findings suggest that the duration of ground contact during intervention exercises (i.e., fast vs. slow stretch-shortening cycle) did not significantly influence initial (6 weeks) physical fitness adaptations in young females. However, extending these results to highly trained groups (e.g., athletes) warrants further investigation.

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Risk of Low Energy Availability in New Zealand National Team and U20 Female Football Representatives

Isabella Coombes and Claire E. Badenhorst

Background: Rates of low energy availability (LEA) in female footballers range from 12% to 66%, studies are limited, and no research has yet looked at the prevalence of LEA in a cohort of international players. Due to the negative consequences of LEA, more research is needed for a thorough investigation into prevalence rates and the associated risk factors of LEA within international environments. Methods: Twenty-two members of the New Zealand under 20 (U20) and National Women’s football teams (20.8 ± 3.5 years) participated in this study. Participants completed an online questionnaire composed of five independent validated surveys to assess LEA risk (Low Energy Availability in Females Questionnaire), eating disorder risk (Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire), sleep quality (Athlete Sleep Score Questionnaire), nutrition knowledge, (Abridged Sport Nutrition Questionnaire), and mood (Profile of Mood States Questionnaire). Results: 59.1% (n = 13) of participants were identified as being at risk of problematic LEA. Players reporting menstrual disturbances (amenorrhea or oligomenorrhea) were 2.25 times more likely to be at risk of LEA than those who did not report a menstrual disturbance. Menstrual status (R = −.46, p = .030) and Profile of Mood States Questionnaire (r = −.46, p = .032) were significantly and positively associated with risk of LEA (R = −.46, p = .030). Conclusions: A significant proportion (59.1%) of players in the New Zealand national and U20 female football team are at risk of LEA. The positive and predictive relationship observed between mood disturbances, menstrual status, and risk of LEA suggests that regular monitoring of mood and menstrual cycle health may be used for the early identification of problematic LEA in national-level female footballers in New Zealand.

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Volume 32 (2024): Issue 1 (Jan 2024)

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Volume 32 (2024): Issue S1 (Jan 2024)

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Motivations and Barriers to Leisure-Time Physical Activity Among Rural Women of Gipuzkoa

Olaia Eizagirre-Sagastibeltza, Uxue Fernandez-Lasa, and Oidui Usabiaga

Women do less physical activity than men, and physical inactivity among women is higher during active years (ages 18–65). In addition, women residing in rural areas do less physical activity than those living in urban areas. The aim of this study was to analyze the habits, motivations, and barriers linked to leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) among women of rural areas of Gipuzkoa (Basque Country, Spain), from a socioecological and feminist approach. Two hundred and ninety-six rural women from Gipuzkoa, aged 18–65 (41.1 ± 11.2), answered the Gipuzkoa Women’s Physical Activity Questionnaire. Pearson’s chi-square test and independent samples test were used to compare the responses between the active and inactive groups. 62.8% of the participants were active, while 37.2% were inactive. In terms of intrapersonal factors, being fit was the main motivation for doing LTPA, and lack of time was the main barrier. Among the interpersonal factors, the main motivation was being in contact with friends and people they enjoyed, and the main barrier was not having someone to go with. Motherhood was not an impediment to do LTPA, and the support received from partners, family, and friends made it easier for the subjects to remain active. The influence of the physical environment and sociocultural factors was small, with the COVID-19 confinement being the main reason motivating LTPA, and the weather the main barrier. There are multiple factors that affect LTPA among rural women, and it is important to consider this collective’s diversity in order to promote healthy lifestyle habits.

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Female Physiology–Endocrinology: Education Is Lacking and Innovation Is Needed!

Anthony C. Hackney and Kirsty J. Elliott-Sale

Throughout their lifespans, women undergo unique endocrinological changes relative to their reproductive hormones. The influence of how the female sex steroid hormones have nonreproductive actions is a trending topic of great interest in the exercise–sports sciences, especially among women of reproductive age. Herein, we present several key points on our perspective for moving the study of this topic forward in the future. These are (a) encouraging researchers to pursue high-quality research on female physiology–endocrinology in the exercise–sports science setting, (b) the need for exercise–sports science educational curriculums at the university level to embrace the study of female physiology–endocrinology area, and (c) the need for innovation in the study of this topic. As such, we propose using research design models involving supraphysiological hormonal states in vivo, that is, pregnancy and in vitro fertilization treatment, to gain new insights on sex steroid hormonal actions in women. Herein, we provide the rationale for our recommendations as well as a brief physiological overview of these clinical states. We acknowledge, exercise sports sciences need more studies on women! But there is a need to “think outside the box” on this topic, and we encourage researchers to be unconventional, be bold, think creatively, and contemplate whether these supraphysiological hormonal states might give them insightful information on female physiology and ovarian sex steroid hormones actions.

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Girls, Women, and Female Athletes in Sport Psychology: A Decade-Long Review of the Literature

Alex Murata, Cailie S. McGuire, Madison Robertson, Mia KurtzFavero, Jennifer T. Coletti, Philip B. Simpson, Ella Pierone, Luc J. Martin, and Jean Côté

The underrepresentation of female research participants, women, and girls has been highlighted as an issue of concern within a variety of research areas and disciplines across academia. More specifically, this lack of visibility has contributed to widening knowledge gaps regarding these populations while also perpetuating and strengthening existing inequities. Given these concerns, the purpose of this review was to explore whether similar imbalances could exist within the sport psychology literature and, if so, what future research projects might be completed to rectify these issues. To do so, all articles (n = 3,005) published between the years of 2011 and 2021 in five journals of sport psychology were assessed. Following an analysis of the relevant studies collected, it was found that more articles including all boys, men, and male athletes (n = 343) were published within this time frame compared with articles including exclusively girls, women, and female athletes (n = 155). Additionally, it also appeared that research working with girls, women, and female athletes was lacking: (a) in recreational sport, (b) at both young and older ages, and (c) within team sport contexts. Further, most of the studies assessed often conflated participant sex- and gender-descriptive terminology. As such, it is highly encouraged that researchers in sport psychology make greater strides to conduct purposeful and targeted research focusing on girls, women, and female athlete participants and their specific issues over the coming years.

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Volume 31 (2023): Issue 2 (Oct 2023)