MOORESVILLE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — February 1st is National Girls and Women in Sports Day. The sports industry, which was once male-dominated, has made huge strides in allowing women to join high-profile positions outside of just being an athlete.
Last year National Girls and Women in Sports Day marked 50 years since Title IX. Organizers say the focus this year is on the next 50 years and how women can further make an impact in sports.
Here in the Carolinas, Title IX is allowing hundreds of women to work in dozens of different positions within motorsports, from behind the wheel to training pit crew athletes.
With the speed and choreographed movements of a NASCAR pit stop, team members are prone to injuries. Unlike other sports, injuries are rarely broken bones.
“A lot more of tendonitis, chronic injuries with these guys,” said Pam Brown, an athletic trainer with the Ortho Carolina Motorsports division.
NASCAR competes non-stop for 10 months. A two-month offseason leaves little room for recovery.
“We do a countdown from that last race in Phoenix to Daytona, how soon do we have to get this guy ready,” said Brown.
While Brown is an Athletic Trainer with Ortho Carolina, she’s serving this season as the Head Athletic Trainer at Team Penske. She’s responsible for 9 pit crews across three racing series.
Starting out as a trainer in college football, Brown says she was never concerned about working in a male-dominated field.
“I knew the expectations going into it. This is probably going to be an uphill battle and everything with women, but I think over the years the roles have definitely changed and the expectations,” said Brown.
For a while, the expectations were women as athletes only, but Brown never saw it that way.
“I have always enjoyed sports, being more hands-on and working with teams and seeing them from start to finish with any kind of injuries and then seeing them back to what they love doing,” said Brown.
There are other young women and girls who would love to work in sports too. So when asked about how to start, Brown offers an honest piece of advice.
“You have 10,000 people probably applying for the same job as you. What are you going to do to stand out? It doesn’t matter if you are male or female,” said Brown.
Brown does travel with the pit crews and will be at about 17 NASCAR events this season, that includes the season-opening Daytona 500 on February 19.