USA Track & Field sets pace with innovative maternity policy for athlete mothers

USA Track & Field sets pace with innovative maternity policy for athlete mothers

Festus Chuma 20:14 - 25.04.2024

USA Track & Field has introduced an expanded maternity policy that provides better health insurance and support for athlete mothers returning to competition.

USA Track & Field (USATF) has taken a significant step forward in supporting athlete mothers with the introduction of an expanded maternity policy.

This groundbreaking initiative aims to bridge the gap in healthcare insurance coverage for new mothers striving to return to elite competition. 

The announcement, made on Thursday, signifies a major enhancement to the existing support system, providing athletes additional time to regain their competitive form post-pregnancy.

The change comes after U.S. Olympic hurdler Christina Clemons championed the cause, having voiced concerns through numerous emails to track community members about the lack of adequate support for athlete mothers.

 Clemons, who gave birth to her son Kylo on February 4, 2023, highlighted the pressing need for a more accommodating framework for mothers in the sport. 

"There is a huge lack of support in sports in general when it comes to mothers, which is crazy to me," Clemons stated a per AFP.

Her efforts have paved the way for a policy that she believes will "fill a gap and come in and save the day."

Under the new policy, Team USA athletes can benefit from the Elite Athlete Health Insurance, which is provided by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee. 

The insurance now extends for a year following the conclusion of an athlete’s pregnancy, assuming she intends to continue competing.

 Moreover, the program includes an athlete stipend, aimed at alleviating some of the financial pressures faced during this challenging transitional period.

"This program really is filling a gap and coming in and saving the day. You don’t feel so pressured to perform at a time when no matter what you do, you really can’t — not a year after pregnancy," Clemons explained.

Clemons follows in the footsteps of trailblazers like Allyson Felix, who have advocated for better conditions for mothers both on and off the track. 

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