April 25, 2024

Sarina Wiegman: England boss says women’s health initiatives are ‘another step in right direction’

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Sarina Wiegman has been a vocal supporter of player welfare

England manager Sarina Wiegman has welcomed the announcement of new female-specific health projects in top-level football.

The Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship have worked with health experts to create the initiatives.

The projects include online courses for staff on topics such as menstrual cycles and the appointment of a female athlete health lead at all 24 clubs.

“It is another step in the right direction,” said Wiegman.

“It’s really good and also very necessary. It has been said all the time there needs to be more research about women in sport and more support too.

“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.”

Staff will have access to online courses, with modules covering issues including the menstrual cycle, pre and post-natal health, pelvic health, injury risk and prevention, kit and fertility.

Each club must nominate a health lead to provide support for players and their welfare, while best practice guidelines will look at issues such as pregnancy.

The initiatives were created after the leagues collaborated with Well HQ on a “state of play” report, which involved surveying 101 players and 19 support staff across the professional game.

England and Barcelona midfielder Keira Walsh said: “I think because I play in the Spanish league now, seeing where the FA and WSL is going and being at the forefront and leading a lot of that is really nice to see.

“Ultimately the support the FA is showing for women’s athletes is really good and hopefully it will continue that way.”

Walsh and Wiegman have been vocal supporters of player welfare, urging FIFA and UEFA – the world and European governing bodies – to work more collaboratively to improve schedules.

Busy schedules have, in part, been blamed for the raft of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) knee injuries affecting the women’s game.

Chelsea duo Sam Kerr and Mia Fishel have already torn their ACLs this year, while Arsenal and England duo Leah Williamson and Beth Mead sustained the same serious injury last season.

England forward Mead will work with FIFA to share knowledge on the injury and to improve female-specific research into its prevalence.

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