SURGE by BSN Sports: Investing in North Texas Female Athletes

Story by Whitney Carter. Photos provided by BSN Sports.

2024 is proving that it’s the year for women’s sports: The NCAA Women’s Championship between Iowa and South Carolina set a record on Sunday, drawing 18.9 million viewers. This summer, the Paris 2024 Olympics will have Dallas’s own Sha’Carri Richardson, the world 100m champion, leading the pack. The USWNT also recently brought home gold in both the SheBelieves Cup and the inaugural Concacaf W Gold Cup.

To keep that momentum going, BSN Sports launched its SURGE initiative to invest in the success of girls’ sports in North Texas and beyond for years to come. SURGE stands for Strength, Unity, Resilience, Growth, and Equity. Its mission is to empower girls aged 12-18 to stay in sports and lead healthy, successful lives.

Susan Riley, the Senior Director of Brand Marketing at BSN Sports, believes coaches have the power to impact more lives in a sports season than most people do in a lifetime. That is why SURGE focuses on providing coaches with the resources they need to build self-esteem, instill confidence, and prioritize mental health in athletes.

Susan Riley, the Senior Director of Brand Marketing at BSN Sports.

“There are countless unsung heroes helping young athletes harness this power every day, like coaches, teachers, administrators, parents, and mentors. They are ‘The Heart of the Game.’ That’s why since 1972, it has been the mission of BSN SPORTS to enable their success and provide tools to elevate the athlete experience,” Susan says.

BSN Sports cites an EY study that shows girls who play high school sports have higher GPAs, are 24 times less likely to drop out of school, and have higher graduation rates. Beyond the field of competition, 94 percent of C-suite women played youth sports.

“Yet, by age 14, girls are quitting sports at twice the rate of boys,” Susan says. She elaborates by explaining that the numbers in Texas show much of the same: the gap between girls and boys in high school sports participation, where boys are simply competing more than girls.

“At BSN SPORTS, we were both concerned and inspired by this data – as it showcases where sports surge for girls, success isn’t far behind,” Susan says.

To dive deeper, Susan says their company did more than a year of research consulting with girls’ sports coaches, athletes, experts, and partners to ensure the program was tailor-made and rooted in data-driven insights to address the core reasons that girls are quitting sports at a higher rate than boys.

“The reasoning is nuanced and complex, but at the same time, not shocking,” Susan explains. “A quote from one of our surveyed coaches has really resonated with me and highlighted their findings: ‘Boys play great to feel good. Girls need to feel good to play great.’”

Susan elaborates that they can attribute a lot of this to teenage girls dealing with a wide range of mental health challenges, including issues with body image, confidence, perfectionism, stress, anxiety, and more, which underscores the data trends SURGE aims to combat.

“We know team sports can be a wonderful outlet for girls, but most coaches are prepared and focused on the x’s and o’s of coaching and may not be as equipped to take on the critical mental resilience component their teams are seeking,” Susan says. “Ultimately, SURGE is on a mission to give anyone who works with girls’ sports teams and athletes tools and resources to help build girls’ self-esteem, instill confidence, develop leadership skills, and prioritize mental health in their female athletes.”

According to Susan, the SURGE program, which launched on March 20, 2024, has had a great initial engagement.

“We already have 50 Texas SURGE members, the majority being Coaches and Athletic Directors, who work with more than 5,000 female athletes. We built SURGE programming to equip coaches and athletes with free tools, support, and resources dedicated to powering girls forward,” Susan says.

SURGE offers free online programming developed for coaches to help their female athletes build self-esteem, develop leadership skills, and prioritize mental health. The eight-week curriculum is designed to help coaches find effective ways to build emotional resilience in their athletes.

It’s a mission they are passionate about because, as Susan says, they have seen first-hand what is happening across the country.

“BSN SPORTS is the largest sports team supplier in the country, partnering with girls’ sports coaches across the country through our 1200+ Sales Pros to support over 1.5 million girl athletes,” Susan says. “While our reach is wide, we believe in the lasting benefits that this program can deliver in the girls’ sports space and didn’t want to limit access to this important programming to just our customers. Every coach, regardless of budget, should have the tools and resources to help empower their girl athletes,” Susan says.

The website provides more information for coaches, athletic directors, administrators, or anyone interested in learning more.

As the leading team sports supplier in the U.S. and a division of Varsity Brands, Susan says they continue to invest in ways to provide their more than 150,000 team sports customers with a fast and easy path to to getting all the equipment they need from the world’s best brands.

“We believe it is our obligation to support girls in sports, not a privilege. We are hearing this same sentiment from coaches and girls’ sports leaders around the country,” Susan says. “The feedback has been tremendously positive, and we are just getting started.”