Female Athlete Triad Recognition and Knowledge of Collegiate Cross-Country Coaches
Keywords:female athlete, energy availability, bone health, menstruation, prevention
BACKGROUND: To examine Female Athlete Triad (Triad) recognition and knowledge of collegiate cross-country coaches, as well as team access to Triad-related resources.
METHODS: After identifying collegiate women’s cross-country coaches from publicly available records, an internally validated, 44-item survey was emailed to assess Triad recognition and knowledge in order to perform a cross-sectional study. Respondents were grouped by National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) division and geographically based on the location of conference headquarters. Survey responses were analyzed and reported using descriptive statistics where appropriate. Statistical comparisons and contrasts were made using chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests. A significance level of p < .05 was used.
RESULTS: A total of 143 NCAA cross-country coaches participated in the survey. Notably, 29% of coaches did not recognize the Triad and close to 40% of responding coaches could not identify any of the three Triad components. A greater number of Division I coaches demonstrated Triad recognition (85.4%) and component knowledge (68.3%) compared to Division II and Division III coaches. Geographic region was associated with respondent Triad recognition (p= .011), but not identification of Triad components (Χ2 = 7.015, p = .135). Access to Triad-related resources was low. Only 51% and 29% of responding teams had access to a registered dietitian or sports psychologist, respectively.CONCLUSION: This study suggests that further Triad education amongst NCAA cross-country coaches is warranted. Future research is needed to illuminate specific strategies to improve Triad knowledge of collegiate cross-country coaches.
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