Sports Medicine Division Female Athlete Program

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Contact the Sports Medicine Division

  • 617-355-3501
  • International: +1-617-355-5209
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    Monday-Friday 7:00am-8:00pm
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The number of girls and young women in competitive sports has skyrocketed in the last few decades. At the same time, Boston Children’s Sports Medicine Division, the first pediatric sports medicine center in the United States, has grown and specialized to meet the unique needs of female athletes. Its Female Athlete Program is comprised of leaders in sports medicine. Our team cares for athletes of all ages—from elite professionals to eager novices—and stands out in the nation for its specialized care and research.

Our approach

The experts in our Female Athlete Program use a comprehensive approach to diagnosis, treatment and management to keep female athletes healthy and at the top of their game. Our caregivers assess the whole athlete and evaluate exercise habits, hormonal balance and nutritional needs, not just symptoms and injuries, to ensure peak performance.

We specialize in caring for patients with the Female Athlete Triad. This condition is characterized by low energy availability, menstrual dysfunction and decreased bone mineral density. (Female Athlete Triad may be referred to as Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport or RED-S. This more inclusive term recognizes that there may be other health and performance consequences from low energy availability and that men can also be affected.) Our clinical team helps young female athletes increase their energy availability, resume regular menstrual cycles, improve bone health and address their other health and performance concerns.

Our Leadership


Kathryn (Kate) Ackerman, MD, MPH, and Martha Murray, MD, co-direct the Female Athlete Program.
 Dr. Kathryn Ackerman
 Dr. Martha Murray

Ackerman sees athletes of all ages with musculoskeletal issues, general medical issues and endocrine problems, such as Female Athlete Triad/RED-S and other metabolic concerns. Her research involves the study of female athletes and the Female Athlete Triad/RED-S.

She is an assistant professor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, a former national team rower and a current team physician for the U.S. National Rowing Team and Community Rowing, Inc. She is also a team physician for various high schools and colleges in Boston, The Boston Ballet and the Boston Marathon.

Murray specializes in the care of knee injuries in athletes, and her research focuses on healing tissues inside joints, particularly the ACL and meniscus of the knee. Her work has been funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Football League.

She is an associate professor in orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School, a member of the Executive Committee of the international ACL study group and author of more than 60 publications regarding research on knee injuries.


In the news


Suffering on the sidelines, more athletes hit by ACL tears
The Boston Globe, October 5, 2014

Needham High soccer star, other girls coping with rise in ACL tears
The Boston Globe, October 5, 2014

Girls’ soccer players dealing with rise in ACL tears
The Boston Globe, October 5, 2014

Tips to prevent ACL tears
The Boston Globe, October 5, 2014

Gender gap in treating female athletes
The Boston Globe, June 3, 2013

Boston Children's Hospital Female Athlete Program gives injured teens custom care
CBS Boston,
May 30, 2013

Knees, food, periods: top 10 medical tips if your daughter plays sports
WBUR’s CommonHealth blog, April 5, 2013

Treating and preventing injuries in female athletes
WBUR’s “Radio Boston," April 9, 2013Krista P

Boston Children's Hospital creates program tailored to female athletes
BU's The Daily Free Press, April 9, 2014

Program focuses on injuries unique to female athletes
The Lynn Daily Item, April 15, 2013

Beating the odds: After three knee injuries, a female athlete triumphs
Thriving Blog, April 3, 2013




Experts in Boston Children’s Female Athlete Program and the Sports Medicine Division are dedicated to conducting research and developing innovations for athletes of all ages. Primary areas of focus include the ACL/knee, bone health, and concussion and sports injuries. The team has participated in the following research:


Validation of Porcine Knee as a Sex-specific Model to Study Human Anterior Cruciate Ligament Disorders. Kiapour AM, Shalvoy MR, Murray MM, Fleming BC. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2014 Oct 1. [Epub ahead of print].

Can Platelet-Rich Plasma Enhance Anterior Cruciate Ligament and Meniscal Repair? Hutchinson ID, Rodeo SA, Perrone GS, Murray MM. J Knee Surg. 2014 Aug 7. [Epub ahead of print].

Knee Injury Patterns in Young Irish Dancers. Beasley MA, Stracciolini A, Tyson KD, Stein CJ. Med Probl Perform Art. 2014 Jun; 29(2): 70-3.

Biology of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury and Repair. Murray MM, Fleming BC. J Orthop Res. 2014 Oct; 31(10): 1501-6.

The use of magnetic resonance imaging to predict ACL graft structural properties. Fleming BC, Vajapeyam S, Connolly SA, Magarian EM, Murray MM. J Biomech. 2011 Nov 10;44(16):2843-6.

Effect of anterior cruciate healing on the uninjured ligament insertion site. Haus BM, Mastrangelo AN, Murray MM. J Orthop Res. 2012 Jan;30(1):86-94.

A comparative anatomical study of the human knee and six animal species. Proffen BL, McElfresh M, Fleming BC, Murray MM. Knee. 2011 Aug 16.

Biomechanical outcomes after bioenhanced anterior cruciate ligament repair and anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction are equal in a porcine model. Vavken P, Fleming BC, Mastrangelo AN, Machan JT, Murray MM. Arthroscopy. 2012 Jan 19.

The effect of platelet concentrates on graft maturation and graft-bone interface healing in anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in human patients: a systematic review of controlled trials. Vavken P, Sadoghi P, Murray MM. Arthroscopy. 2011 Nov;27(11):1573-83.

Treating anterior cruciate ligament tears in skeletally immature patients. Vavken P, Murray MM. Arthroscopy. 2011 May;27(5):704-16.

Bone density

Fractures in Relation to Menstrual Status and Bone Parameters in Young Athletes. Ackerman KE, Sokoloff NC, De Nardo Maffazioli G, Clarke H, Lee H, Misra M. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014 Nov 13. [Epub ahead of print]

Hip Structural Analysis in Adolescent and Young Adult Oligoamenorrheic and Eumenorrheic Athletes and Nonathletes. Ackerman KE, Pierce L, Guereca G, Slattery M, Lee H, Goldstein M, Misra M. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Apr; 98(4): 1742-9.

Estradiol level predict bone mineral density in male collegiate athletes: a pilot study. Ackerman KE, Skrinar GS, Medvedova E, Misra M, Miller KK. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2012 Mar;76(3):339-45.

Higher ghrelin and lower leptin secretion is associated with lower LH secretion in young amenorrheic athletes compared with eumenorrheic athletes and controls. Ackerman KE, Slusarz K, Guereca G, Pierce L, Slattery M, Mendes Estalla N, Herzog DB, Misra M. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Jan 17. [Epub ahead of print]

DXA surrogates for visceral fat are inversely associated with bone density measures in adolescent athletes with menstrual dysfunction. Ackerman KE, Davis B, Jacoby L, Misra M. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2011;24(7-8):497-504.

Bone microarchitecture is impaired in adolescent amenorrheic athletes compared with eumenorrheic athletes and nonathletic controls. Ackerman KE, Nazem T, Chapko D, Russell M, Mendes N, Taylor AP, Bouxsein ML, Misra M. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Oct;96(10):3123-33.

Bone health and the female athlete triad in adolescent athletes. Ackerman KE, Misra M. Phys Sportsmed. 2011 Feb;39(1):131-41.

Concussion and sports injuries

Early Symptom Burden Predicts Recovery After Sport-Related Concussion. Meehan WP 3rd, Mannix R, Monuteaux MC, Stein CJ, Bachur RG. Neurology. 2014 Dec 9; 83(24); 2204-10.

Pediatric Sports Injuries: A Comparison of Males versus Females. Stracciolini A, Casciano R, Levey Friedman, H, Stein CJ, Meehan WP 3rd, Micheli LJ. Am J Sports Med. 2014 Apr; 42(4): 956-72.


Exercise, sports participation and musculoskeletal disorders of pregnancy and postpartum. Borg-Stein JP, Fogelman DJ, Ackerman KE. Semin Neurol. 2011 Sep;31(4):413-22.


The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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