Loughborough Alumni


23 May 2019

Alumna joins BBC Sport campaign to raise awareness of periods

Alumna and Honorary Graduate Giselle Ansley MBE has joined forces with sportswomen across the country to raise awareness of how periods affect female athletes.

Giselle, one of four alumnae to win Olympic gold in hockey at the Rio 2016 Olympics, is part of BBC Sport’s #ChangeTheGame campaign, which aims to showcase female athletes and women’s sport in ways they never have been before.

She joined fellow British Olympic hockey gold medallists Sam Quek and Kate Richardson-Walsh, England footballer Alex Greenwood and Olympic athlete Eilish McColgan in talking about the impact of periods on their performances.

Research has suggested that certain injuries, such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, are more prevalent in female athletes due to changing hormones affecting bone strength and joint elasticity. It also suggests that females are more prone to injury and illness at certain times.

However, research conducted by the English Institute of Sport suggests that over 70% of women haven’t been educated about their menstrual cycle and its relationship with exercise.

Speaking to fellow alumna Katie Shanahan, who graduated in 2014 with a BSc in Geography, about how periods affect her in sport, Giselle said:

“I feel quite a bit of backache, very hungry, really bloated, and I have a much shorter fuse.

“The day before I start, I am so clumsy – I tend to play football, not hockey, on the hockey pitch!

 “[When people say] ‘Oh, it’s that time of the month is it?’, it really winds me up.”

Giselle graduated in 2014 with a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science, and was awarded an honorary degree in 2018 alongside 2016 teammates Maddie Hinch MBE, Dr Hannah Macloed MBE and Nicola White MBE. 



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