Study proves sports offer young women a winning future

2014-10-30 08:08:48 by Dr. Joe Congeni - Director of Sports Medicine, as posted on the blog.

Flickr / K.M. Klemencic Flickr / K.M. Klemencic

In a recently released study, I was thrilled to see there are significant advantages for young women who play sports. Not only does exercise improve a young woman's health, but it also prepares her for victory in the future.

Yesterday, I had the chance to speak with WAKR morning show host Ray Horner about the positive outcomes this study revealed. However, there was one cause for concern. It pointed out many young women quit sports around age 14, about the time they enter high school.

Below is an audio file and transcript of our discussion. Originally aired on 1590 WAKR-AM on Oct. 29, 2014.

HORNER: We're bringing in our good friend, Dr. Joe Congeni from Sports Medicine Center
at Akron Children's Hospital. Joe, what do you have for us today?

DR. CONGENI: Hey, Ray. I wanted to, first of all, not let the moment get by, I wanted to just mention and put my voice with others ... what a huge loss it was of Coach Peters. A giant in basketball circles, local person, who, uh, sat at the right hand of Coach Huggins at Cincinnati and Coach Matta at OSU and most recently with Coach Dambrot here at Akron.

Dr. Joe Congeni Dr. Joe Congeni

What a giant he was in the field of basketball and being from our area, being from Canton, Ohio, he was a great man and I got to know Coach Peters pretty well. So, it's a big loss for us in the sports community.

HORNER: Mmhmm.

DR. CONGENI: But, I wanted to talk today about a study that came out recently about the 4 very significant benefits of exercise and why sports are so great for your young daughters, for young women that play sports.

This study looked at:


  • No. 1: High-school girls that play sports have significantly better grades and much more likely to graduate from high school if they play sports.

  • No. 2: There's a significant reduction in the risk of breast cancer, 60 percent reduction. The most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women is breast cancer, a 60 percent reduction in people that played sports.

  • No. 3: a reduction in osteoporosis. You know, Ray, osteoporosis is that bone-thinning or bone-weakening that 1 in 3 women over age 50 experience to some extent, and playing sports as a young woman actually significantly reduces that risk of osteoporosis.

  • And No. 4: Studies show significant preparation for young women for the future. Eighty percent of female executives in Fortune 500 companies said they played sports when they were young and that it helped them be more confident, build self-esteem, lower levels of depression.


Flickr / K.M. Klemencic Flickr / K.M. Klemencic

And so ... just being active and being involved in sports significant benefits that are out there.

One thing, though, that is a concern to me, Ray, that also this study brought out is there has been in the last 5 to 10 years a lot more young women and girls who quit sports at about age 14, which is the age where they go into high school.

So, that is a little bit of a red flag. We have to do a better job to keep young women involved in sports because there are so many benefits when they do stay involved.

HORNER: Alright, Joe, great information again. Thanks as always, appreciate you fitting us into your schedule.

DR. CONGENI:  Thanks, Ray, for all you do in the community, getting us all ready for Election Day next Tuesday, too. I really appreciate that.

HORNER: You got it. Thanks, Joe.

DR. CONGENI: Thanks, Ray.

HORNER: Dr. Joe Congeni, Sports Medicine Center at Akron Children's Hospital.


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