Knowledge of the Female Athlete Triad Among Female High School Athletes and Their Coaches

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Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology






Elsevier Inc.

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STUDY OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to determine awareness/knowledge of the Triad and its health implications among female high school athletes and their coaches, and to evaluate coaches' Triad screening/intervention practices. DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey. SETTING: Two high schools in the western United States. PARTICIPANTS: Female athletes from a variety of sports (N = 240) ages 14-18 years and their coaches (N = 10). INTERVENTION: Participants completed surveys that assessed Triad knowledge and athlete Triad risk factors. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Frequency of responses to Triad knowledge, Triad risk factor, and Triad education/screening procedures questions; athlete summative knowledge score. RESULTS: Half (N = 120) of participants reported menstrual irregularity, and 42% (N = 101) had 2 or more Triad risk factors: past amenorrhea (N = 39), past stress fracture (N = 41), self-reported not eating enough (N = 53), underweight (BMI-for-age < 5(th) percentile) (N = 10), pressure to be a certain weight (N = 143), and wanting to lose >10 pounds when self-reported weight was in a healthy range (N = 34). Average athlete Triad knowledge score was 2.97 ± 1.61 out of 8. Coach Triad knowledge was limited; however, most (9/10) were comfortable discussing menstruation with their athletes. Barriers to Triad screening/education were coaches' insufficient time, knowledge, and educational resources. CONCLUSION: Triad risk factors were prevalent among athletes and coach and athlete Triad knowledge was low. Providing coaches with Triad screening/education training may increase Triad knowledge and decrease Triad risk among high school athletes.

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