India’s fast bowling legend Jhulan Goswami, who is set to retire after a ODI at Lord’s on September 24, has said more scientific research is needed to understand the effects of women’s menstrual cycles on an athlete, particularly in cricket where a player has to be on field for six hours.
“When I was young, I couldn’t even discuss this topic. I would just keep it to myself, not tell coaches, quietly fighting through it. People should research properly, lots of science is there, and if we can find a way to adjust during those menstrual cycles during competition,” Jhulan Goswami told former India coach WV Raman on his Wednesdays with WV show on YouTube.
“That’s the biggest challenging part for a woman athlete. If it [periods] came during competition time, it was a huge challenge to concentrate on your job – you have to be mentally very strong. At that time, it can happen that you aren’t able to concentrate more, deliver more – and people don’t realise that and start talking ‘arre yaar, isko kya ho gaya? But people don’t know the background story. This is the lot of all women athletes around the world and that’s why they are special,” Goswami told Raman.
According to a 2021 study on women footballers, found that fluctuations in reproductive hormones can influence tissues such as muscles, tendons and ligaments. The muscle and tendon injury were 88 percent greater during the late follicular period of the menstruation cycle, the time when the brain sends signals to the ovaries to prepare an egg that will be released.
Jhulan Goswami explained how it takes great courage to go through hormonal changes and compete.
“It’s one thing going through the aches and pains of the body but going through that kind of pain and changes in the body is challenging. During match days it’s tough, it takes a lot of courage to come out of that situation and play for 6 hours on a cricket field is a huge task. You have to give a lot of credit to all the girls going through those challenges. You want to be in a room, getting rest but we can’t do that. We can’t be in bed. It’s an important match, we have to be out there for 6 hours. We can’t give excuses and sit.It’s normal – we accept that, and we prepare that way. You can’t give excuses for that and that’s the beauty for our women athletes,” Jhulan said.
When Raman asked her if more research is needed to push the system to help mitigate the challenges for women athletes, something he had prescribed during his term as women’s team coach, Jhulan agreed. “Research is required to see what changes challenges go through and how to mitigate them. Everybody wants to be fresh during competing time. I am happy to see that people are thinking that.”