The Springfield College School of Physical Education, Performance and Sport Leadership presented the 2021 Peter V. Karpovich Lecture featuring Mary Jane De Souza ’80, G’84, PhD, FACSM, Professor, Kinesiology and Physiology, at The Pennsylvania State University. The lecture took place on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, in the Cleveland E. and Phyllis B. Dodge Room in the Campus Union.
De Souza’s lecture featured the challenges and repercussions of female athletes pushing physical limits that are negatively impacting their health. According to De Souza, many female athletes straddle a thin line between maximizing their overall training stimulus and maintaining health and nutrition necessary for optimal performance.
She discussed a surge in performance standards for women participating in sports and training and how that is compromising their reproductive and bone health. De Souza noted the most concerning issue of all is that the problems observed that impact bone health may not be reversible and may have long-term negative effects on bone.
De Souza is director of the Women’s Health and Exercise Laboratory at Penn State, and executive director of the Female and Male Athlete Triad Coalition. She has hundreds of peer review journal articles focused on women's health and physical activity, endocrinology of the female athlete, effects of exercise on the menstrual cycle, female athlete triad, and energy deficiency and bone health.
She received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from Springfield College, a PhD from the University of Connecticut, and completed postdoctoral work in reproductive physiology at the University of Connecticut Medical School. De Souza has received many awards for her research career, including a Citation Award from the American College of Sports Medicine.