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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Former UA gymnast frustrated by school suspension of mental health support Wild cats

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Dozens of student-athletes graduate from the UA each year, although it is unclear how many apply for reimbursement for medical or mental health treatment associated with injuries suffered while competing on their teams. Between 2019 and 2021, 336 student-athletes graduated from the school, according to data provided by the athletics department.

Courtesy of Sydney Freidin

“I needed space to work with myself”

Freidin arrived at the UA from Westchester, California, in the summer of 2017, before the start of his freshman year. That first year wasn’t easy, with Freidin saying she didn’t get along with the other three freshmen on the gym and often felt isolated.

“I was trying to discover life without my parents, and the gymnastics culture is far behind what real-life nutrition should be,” he said. “I’ve been told false things about food all my life.”

Freidin said that when he arrived at the UA, he had already dealt with a coach who had unhealthy ideas about portion control. He said that through gymnastics, he grew up in an environment where food was considered unhealthy.

A self-proclaimed orthorexic, a person obsessed with her health, said she only put healthy things on her body.

Freidin competed in two meetings his freshman season, scoring a career high on the balance bar at a February 2018 meeting in Oregon State. That April, everything changed. Freidin underwent a post-season body composition test to track athletes’ progress. Her coach told her that the team’s nutritionist was worried about her body composition, and within a few days she was sent to the team doctor, who told her she was diagnosed with anorexia.

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