WSL announces new measures to improve female athlete health

The Women's Super League (WSL) has announced new measures aimed at improving knowledge and providing support in "various areas of female athlete health" for clubs in the WSL and Women's Championship.

The top two leagues in the women's game in England have been working with female athlete support experts, The Well HQ, since 2020 to better support their players. The collaboration between the two saw the publication of the 'The State of Play Project' report, which was based on insights from extensive surveys and interviews conducted with players and staff members at clubs.

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The report led to the creation of FootballHER: CPD [Continuing Professional Development] For All, an online course for staff across both WSL and Women's Championship clubs that was launched in October 2023.

The course provides a "holistic approach to female health", with modules on menstrual cycle and performance, pelvic health and fertility among others.

Now in addition, each club will be asked to nominate an existing member of support staff to be named as their Female Athlete Health Lead (FAHL) to establish "leadership and accountability" for female health at clubs.

The 24 FAHLs will be educated and supported by The Well HQ, including a course in Spring 2024 that will provide detailed sessions on several topics linked to FootballHER.

The clubs, along with the England women's team, will also receive best practice guidelines on pregnancy & post-natal care, menstrual cycle health and pelvic health throughout 2024

"The women's professional game in England will be the first to have football specific CPD for coaches and performance support staff, and to mandate a female athlete health lead in each club," Dr Emma Ross, chief scientific officer at The Well HQ, said in a statement.

England manager Sarina Wiegman too lauded the initiative in a news conference on Monday.

"I think we're really happy to see that. It's really good and also very necessary," she said.

"There needs to be more research and support too and this is another step in the right direction. It's really good, we have to keep going and doing research which will take time to make it the best for women in sport."

"We need to do what's best for them."