As a thankful representative of the EDRC last month (June) I attended the 2017 Boston Children’s Hospital Female Athlete Conference (FAC) at Babson, College in Wellesley, MA. Since 1972’s passage of Title IX, the number of girls involved in competitive sports has dramatically increased thereby demanding more research be done on female athletes. With passion, foresight and awareness of the need for such research, funding and public awareness, Dr. Kate Ackerman, Sports Medicine physician at Boston Children’s Hospital and Director of the Female Athlete Program and Dawn Hynes, founder of Hynes Recovery Services together co-founded Boston Children’s Hospital FAC where proceeds from the conference go towards funding research on female athletes. The Boston Children’s Hospital FAC further explain the inspiration, goal and purpose on their website:
“In the last 40 years, the number of girls competing in high school sports increased from 295,000 to nearly 3.2 million with more women playing collegiate sports than ever before. As girls and young women become more empowered through sports, it is important to advance research on how sex and gender differences affect their performance and overall sports experience. With research advancement in mind, the Female Athlete Conference, the only conference of its kind in the U.S., centers on the specific health issues that make female athletes unique. Experts in sports medicine, sports psychology, sports science, nutrition and sports culture will present strategies to prevent and treat clinical issues and injuries that can limit a female athlete’s performance.” https://bostonchildrens.cloud-cme.com/Aph.aspx?P=1&EID=333
As a former college athlete, coach and current therapist, walking around meeting and speaking with conference presenters the evening before at a special dinner hosted by conference director and co-founder, Dr. Kate Ackerman, I said to myself, “I think I’ve found my tribe.” After seeing Dr. Jennifer L. Gaudiani deliver a powerful and informative opening presentation on the first day of the conference about medical complications concerning malnutrition and eating disorders generally speaking and athletes in particular, followed by attending a myriad of other important topics being presented about the research being done on issues specific to female athletes regarding race, gender politics, and performance, it’s safe to say I knew I found my tribe.
Filled with gratitude, excitement and a deeper appreciation for the new information and insight I gained over the last three days, my trip was made complete when I was able to meet the amazing Dawn Hynes where I shared my appreciation for the wonderful conference and thanked her for her hard work and steadfast commitment to treating and spreading awareness of eating disorders. Last but certainly not least, I could thank Dawn for her part in making this trip possible in the first place along with Janice and the EDRC who were proud sponsors of the event.
Written by: Jennifer L. Medina, PCCI