The Female Athlete Triad: Role of the Coach in Prevention and lntervention

Michelle Turner Breiland, Augsburg College


The Female Athlete Triad consists of disordered eating, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis. Eating disorders affect between 1-10% of adolescent and college age women (Haller, 1992),particularly in women's' sports in which leanness is considered important for performance such as cross-country running. Methods A three page 17 item questionnaire was sent out to 45 coaches of women's Division III cross-country teams in the Midwest region of the US. Descriptive statistics were run on the data. Results Results showed that 81% of coaches have coached an athlete with a diagnosed eating disorder. Of the top three topics for team discussions, 9.5% of coaches discuss disordered eating. In addition, only 43% of coaches were fully educated on the Triad Results show that coaches want more resources to assist them in recognizing an athlete with an eating disorder. Conclusions This research shows that coaches are in a pivotal position to prevent or intervene with an athlete at risk for developing the Triad. However, coaches need more resources available to better recognize the disorder