(Cover photo: News personality Jackie Hayes moderates the session with a panelist of women for Norton Women’s Sports Health’s Female Athlete Seminar. Credit: Sarah Newell)
Sarah Newell/Ashli McLean
To kick off the launch of the Norton Women’s Sports Health program, Norton hosted the “Female Athlete Seminar” at the KFC Yum! Center on May 11. It was an event for girls and women engaged in health and fitness – from high school athletes to working moms trying to stay in shape. The two-hour event (6-8 p.m.) included an opportunity for attendees to visit the booths of various, local sports nutrition and fitness companies, as well as a question-and-answer session with an educated panel.
The mission of the event was to not only educate attendees on health and fitness specific to the female athlete, but to also connect them with companies around the city that can assist them in those pursuits.
“Tonight was even more than I had hoped for,” said Rebekah Hibbert, athletic trainer and coordinator of sports medicine for Norton Healthcare. “I just loved being able to answer the burning questions that women have in general about their health especially when they are active. We just don’t have anywhere to answer them, and so we can only take little snapshots. I think it really started the conversation, and that’s what is important.”
Hibbert sat on a panel alongside Dr. Robin Curry, Dr. Jennifer Brey, Katie Hynes, and Dr. Vanessa Shannon. Curry is a sports medicine physician with Norton Orthopaedic Specialists St. Matthews, specializing in sports health and non-operative orthopedics. Brey is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in pediatric orthopedics.
Hynes is a registered dietitian who provides diabetes education and sports medicine counseling for patients and families at Kosair Children’s Hospital and ULP Pediatric Endocrinology. And Dr. Vanessa Shannon holds a Ph.D. in education with a specialization in sport psychology. She is the director of mental performance for Norton Sports Health and University of Louisville Athletics.
With the continual rise in athletics participation amongst females, Hibbert added, “…we don’t know always what’s best [way to stay active after college]… what’s the thing that’s going to interest us, what should we be eating, how do we prevent injury. And so I think there’s just a peak in interest in how do we take care of ourselves. If you look at the research, there’s not that much that just focuses on the female in a wide array of topics.”
The seminar targeted just that.
April Woo is a Louisville resident currently training for the half-IRONMAN. A wife and mother, she brought her daughter with her to the event.
“I thought it would be very empowering with women in general,” said Woo. “There is not a lot of focus with sports. Just to help educate my daughter as well as other women. I thought it would be very informative from various perspectives. For me, personally, I learned about nutrition (from the panel). A lot of good information on nutrition.”
Woo was especially thankful to hear information on how to guide her daughter when it comes to giving her body the nutrients it needs.
“No matter what activity you are doing, making sure you fuel that body,” she said.
Alexis Bradley and Abbey Bradshaw of AB Performance Consulting were on site to connect with attendees. AB Performance Consulting conducts mental training for athletes.
“With our clients, we hope to accomplish an increase in the mental side of the game in order to increase performance overall,” said Bradley, “What we’re known for is consistent, optimal performance all the time and that’s what the mental skills training will do.”
“Our skills will not only help the athlete perform in their sport,” added Bradshaw, “but it will also help them on the student portion as well. So, all of the skills that we teach can be applied to taking tests, doing well in school, paying attention in school. So parents love that. Athletes love that because it gives that whole-round performance.”
On the seminar, Bradshaw commented, “One of the most intriguing things is this is an event just for women, which a lot of that doesn’t happen, so to be able to outreach to women athletes which we’ve both (Bradshaw and Bradley) been and we know what it’s like to be a female athlete. It’s just great to reach out to them.”
Bradley reacted, “I think the event is great because it shows how many resources are out there in the community, and…I didn’t know half of these businesses were out there and available. I think women and their daughters need to get out and see what’s available because it’s all about providing not only a strong mind, but a strong body and a strong total person.”
Hibbert is helping to lead the charge in growing Norton Women’s Sports Health. Similar, small events are in the works that will target certain age groups.
“…Eventually we want to keep growing and get more staff,” said Hibbert. “The awesome thing is the support of the bigger Norton Sports Health and that’s what matters.
For more information on the program, visit https://nortonhealthcare.com/pages/norton-womens-sports-health.aspx.