26 September 2023

AIS and NRLW put women’s sport to the test

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The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) has partnered with the National Women’s Rugby League (NRLW) to host a world-leading camp focused on the impacts of periods and hormonal contraceptives on female athletes.

Project Lead of AIS’s Female Performance and Health Initiative (FPHI), Rachel Harris said the Female Athlete Research Camp would see 26 members of the NRL Indigenous Women’s Academy train full-time at the AIS in Canberra, while being monitored and supported daily by 12 female researchers, conducting 10 different studies.

“The camp will provide a much-needed insight into how the menstrual cycle and use of hormonal contraceptives impact how a female athlete feels and performs,” Dr Harris said.

“We have seen an incredible growth in women’s sport over the past decade and it’s imperative that we commit to research and innovation to support the health and performance of our female athletes,” she said.

“Over the next five weeks, the Female Athlete Research Camp at the AIS will study correlations between sport performance and female health, including the influence of the menstrual cycle and hormonal contraceptives on injury prevention, energy-levels, recovery and sleep, all of which are crucially important for our female athletes being successful in both and in life.”

Dr Harris said the athletes taking part were from the ACT, NSW, Queensland and South Australia, while one of the participants travelled from Yam Island, part of the Torres Strait Islands.

She said the landmark research for women’s sport was a collaboration between the AIS, NRLW, the Australian Catholic University (ACU), and Boston Children’s Hospital’s Wu Tsai Human Performance’s Female Athlete Innovation Hub.

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