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maryRS

Proud Parent
Jan 18, 2011
189
something that MaryA said about how a normal mom turned into a crazy gym mom made me think about a friend of ours and how sometimes things do spin.

To make a very long story short, we have a friend who left our gym about 2 years ago and is at another gym. She is 12 and a level 7 and does extremely well. She generally places 1st and sometimes 2nd in just about every meet, and these are harder more competitive meets. She practices 24 hours a week and she is just driven. She loves gymnastics, and I guess you could say it's her life. She is also an extreme perfectionist, and this is in other areas of her life too.

This is a girl who was injured time to time in level 4 and 5 at the Y (lower hours of practice) with injuries that you typically did not see in the littler girls. Well, now I can only describe her as physically broken, and in need of some serious down time from this sport, or any sport for that matter. She just has had so many injuries, it seems like one after another, some broken bones, which were just unfortunate (fall on something she does all the time but would just fall wrong), and lots of overuse type injuries. She is currently going to therapy for her wrist, but in the summer it was her ankle. She has foot problems. Severs in both and one foot has another problem that has to do with the structure of her foot, and the pounding hurting it. She has Osgoods Schlatters, she is always icing her shoulder. She had a hamstring injury. I am not kidding you when I tell you this kid is in pain. They have found a doctor who just keeps telling her to send her to the gym, she is on a constant regime of round the clock Aleve and sometimes some anti inflammatory when things get real bad. The doctor tells them that she is receiving adequate therapy, and this is just what top level sports is and if you want to go far in any sport you learn to suck it up.

The parents? Well, I am kind of friendly with them. Not super close or anything, but us moms do get together every month or so, and we chat occasionally. I have tried relaying my experience with my son, and his friends. I am no stranger to injuries, especially overuse. My son plays soccer in college, he has played his whole life, as have my other kids. Yes, sometimes you have to push through pain, but with most overuse injuries, we were always told by the doctor that rest is the key. My son did sit out games from time to time during his growing years. And yes, he did suck it up at a championship game or two but afterwards, he rested and stayed off whatever it is he needed to. I know gymnastics is not soccer, but my point to them is, he did this (and we saw it all around, girls with ACL injuries), yet he still played through highschool as a varsity starter is playing soccer in college.

I'm also no doctor, so I don't feel qualified saying to her, well maybe J should take a month or 6 weeks off from gym - because what do I know? Maybe she just needs to modify her training or lessen her hours. Her mom said her daughter will not hear of it and she supports her.

Maybe this is not a perfect example, but if you knew this family in any other situation you would never think they would do this. They really are great people, and want the best for their child. This little girl is an only child and is actually quite over protected in just about any other area of her life. This though? I feel like they are throwing her to the wolves, but I think they think they are really just helping her chase her dream.

Maybe I'm off base, I mean my daughter is a level 6 and practices 11 hours a week, which I am pretty sure is below the norm. She plays recreational lacrosse and field hockey and has played travel soccer on and off, and thanks to Dance Moms wants to dance :D So I guess you could say that while my daughter may love gymnastics, clearly she doesn't have the same goals as her friend, or at least the same fire to attain them.

I know there have been a lot of discussions on injuries, and I know I've read a lot of posts of girls quitting because they were just tired of hurting.

How far would you go as a parent? At what point do you balance out a child's dreams (say a girl with high level potential) with sanity.

My own thought on this child is that while she does love gymnastics, and I do really believe she does, her injuries are going to derail her, because you can't keep working out in pain. I guess I think if she took some time off to heal, it could be the best thing for her. I think she is young enough to do that, but I also think she is too old to keep ignoring it.
 
D

Deleted member D3987

yikes!^^^^^^^^^^^^^all of it^^^^^^^^^^^^^^makes me sad.
 

MaryA

Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Jul 22, 2010
4,442
I know there is a girl at DD's gym, a level 9, who has constant back pain... No injury that they can find... It's muscular, I guess they're saying. It stops hurting if she takes some time off from gym, but starts hurting again, in spite of physical therapy, etc. as soon as she goes back. I too wonder, when is it time to step in as a parent and say "enough is enough." Is it OK for your child to be in near constant pain if she's following her dream? Another interesting thing from the book is that Jen got very good at hiding things... Injuries, eating disorders,etc. As a parent you want to think, "I would know" but would you really?
 

flipper's fan

Proud Parent
Aug 3, 2010
463
Mid Atlantic
The younger you are, the more difficulty you have seeing the "future" The older we parents are, the better perspective we have on what is likely to happen later on. I have one of those dd's who insists on working through the pain and prefers to see doctors who let her continue sports rather than tell her to rest or stick a cast on it. I have to read her mind and her actions all the time to keep it in perspective. She had a good friend who was told she was on the elite track but then spent three years plus out on injuries, refusing to give up, seeing the doctors who were telling her she could go back to gymnastics. I so wanted to tell that girl to get out of the gym.....eventually, she gave it up. There is just no easy answer.
With the benefit of hindsight we can see that Jennifer Sey's family revolved around her dream. No one had any perspective on what was happening to the point that it broke up her family as well as endangered her life. Maybe we all need someone who is willing to tell us when to "get a grip" on reality.
 

bookworm

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
The younger you are, the more difficulty you have seeing the "future" The older we parents are, the better perspective we have on what is likely to happen later on.


With the benefit of hindsight we can see that Jennifer Sey's family revolved around her dream. No one had any perspective on what was happening to the point that it broke up her family as well as endangered her life. Maybe we all need someone who is willing to tell us when to "get a grip" on reality.

Two interesting comments flipper's fan and I think you're right on the money...I think when kids are new in the sport and get injured (or complain of pain etc) , parents tend to defer to the coaches and their "recommendations", which in a lot of cases , is to train through it. As we stay in the sport and realize what can and does happen, we put our parent hat on and hopefully make better decisions going forward.

Case in point...a few years back my daughter had reconstructive elbow surgery and her surgeon didn't want her in the gym AT ALL for 6-9 months after ..."and that means no conditioning, no doing beam only..nothing..when I clear you for PT , she can go there...going back too soon always creates problems" ...well her coaches thought I was nuts because I pulled her for that time but she ended up coming back after 7 months (cleared by her surgeon) and has not had any problems post op with her elbow. There are 9 other kids in that gym who had the same surgery (I know , I know, don't get me started...) and they all went back after 6-9 weeks ( they had different surgeons) and EVERY ONE of them had had problems...repeat surgeries, limited mobility of elbow, pain..and a few quit. I'm glad I stuck to my guns because , as I told her crazy coach , "she needs her arm for the rest of her life"....
 
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gym law mom

Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
2,525
There comes a point where no matter what your child wants, the parents have to step up and be parents. That may mean an enforced rest from gymnastics, getting a 2nd opinion from another doctor and standing up to a coach that just says "suck it up and train."
 
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D

Deleted member D3987

Two interesting comments flipper's fan and I think you're right on the money...I think when kids are new in the sport and get injured (or complain of pain etc) , parents tend to defer to the coaches and their "recommendations", which in a lot of cases , is to train through it. As we stay in the sport and realize what can and does happen, we put our parent hat on and hopefully make better decisions going forward.

Case in point...a few years back my daughter had reconstructive elbow surgery and her surgeon didn't want her in the gym AT ALL for 6-9 months after ..."and that means no conditioning, no doing beam only..nothing..when I clear you for PT , she can go there...going back too soon always creates problems" ...well her coaches thought I was nuts because I pulled her for that time but she ended up coming back after 7 months (cleared by her surgeon) and has not had any problems post op with her elbow. There are 9 other kids in that gym who had the same surgery (I know , I know, don't get me started...) and they all went back after 6-9 weeks ( they had different surgeons) and EVERY ONE of them had had problems...repeat surgeries, limited mobility of elbow, pain..and a few quit. I'm glad I stuck to my guns because , as I told her crazy coach , "she needs her arm for the rest of her life"....


wow! OCD. wow! you think after 3 of those they would have modified their yurchenko training. geezlouise.....
 

Muddlethru

Proud Parent
Mar 16, 2011
3,536
Just to play devils advocate here, and also in defense of those that seem to be overzealous to us normal folks, I think, and I am speaking from experience, it would have been nice, no great, to realize a dream at some cost, even a big cost. Not all "successful" gymnasts injured themselves permanently, in fact I think the "terrible" stories we hear are the exception and not the rule. I think many go through life hoping for greatness. And as we all know, it does not come without a cost. Many also go through life trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up. To look back at 70 and say, I got to do what I loved to do is saying a lot. I was a dancer from age 3. I pulled many a muscle/hamstrings, injured my ankles many times, suffered through pain during performances. My knees and my back will never be the same. And even when I pushed things and reinjured myself in the process, I would do it over if the situation presented itself. All I am saying is there is something positive to be said about people who continue to persevere despite the odds. If the little girl is that determined, why not? I think those that push their limits are the ones that succeed, even if only in their monds. This type person is not your average person.

P.S. I know I am going to get killed by the statements above. But I think risks are important in life. Again, this is not for the weak of heart. I would support any of my kids who found the love and the passion for something, anything. Lastly, there is always two sides to a story. It is hard to pass judgement and make assumptions when you don't have the story of the gymnasts family or from the doctor. Peace!
 
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flipper's fan

Proud Parent
Aug 3, 2010
463
Mid Atlantic
I think several of us agree with you, that there is a physical price to pursuing sports dreams, and that it can be worth it. Where we may disagree is what price. I was a child athlete and have some scars and permanent aches and pains for that and I am not unhappy about it. However, Jennifer Sey talks about surgery she had that she regrets, that prevented her from ever being able to breastfeed her children- that is a price she now believes was too high. Bookworm wants his child to have use of her arms when she is done with gymnastics. We have members who stopped due to spondylothesis- they didn't want to end up paralyzed or worse. We're just exploring where to say "enough"
 
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Muddlethru

Proud Parent
Mar 16, 2011
3,536
I think several of us agree with you, that there is a physical price to pursuing sports dreams, and that it can be worth it. Where we may disagree is what price. I was a child athlete and have some scars and permanent aches and pains for that and I am not unhappy about it. However, Jennifer Sey talks about surgery she had that she regrets, that prevented her from ever being able to breastfeed her children- that is a price she now believes was too high. Bookworm wants his child to have use of her arms when she is done with gymnastics. We have members who stopped due to spondylothesis- they didn't want to end up paralyzed or worse. We're just exploring where to say "enough"

I certainly agree with you. Like I said, those are extreme cases. Of course considering the quality of ones life after sports is a big consideration. But I was referring to the situation of the OP. Fractures and sprains, soft tissue injuries are a common occurrence in gymnastics and do heal. From what was indicated by the OP, there does not seem to be any serious threat to the gymnast. I think, and I am talking from experience, many parents are so quick to wag the finger, tsk, tsk, bad parent. I hear this all the time. Each situation is different. There are too many variables and withhout full knowledge of facts, it is hard to tell or pass judgment on another person's decision. As far as Jennider Sey! I read the book a while back, but the decision they made
seemed good for them at that time. Unfortunately, she may have had regrets. But she would not be the
person she is now if she did go through what she went through. She would not have anything to write about.
No book to speak of and no medsls and fame to be proud of. The question for her is, would she throw out her
medals, fame, her best seller and strenght she acquired during her "ordeal" and all the accolades she has enjpyed so that she can breastfeed her children? Like I said, it is an individual decision.
 
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maryRS

Proud Parent
Jan 18, 2011
189
I hear what you are saying, which is in part what I wanted to discuss. The parents I am speaking of are friends of mine. I like them, they are great people and are good parents. I personally do think she needs a break and they are being blinded (I don't think it's by the gym either, one coach actually told them if it was their daughter he'd find a new doctor). I think they are just wanting to help their very determined daughter. But sometimes just because your intentions are good, it doesn't mean it is in the best interest of the child.

I also agree about taking risks etc. I am by nature a cautious, predictable and practical person, sometimes too much for my own good. I don't very often break out of that box. It works for me, but if everyone was like me, the world would be a very very boring place no? Sometimes in order to achieve your dreams, you have to really break out of that box and take risks.

One of the things that would bother me reading this forum, back when there seemed to be a lot of parents with young aspiring gymnastics, many who all had very big dreams, these parents were being told by more seasoned parents that they were being silly to think their kid was going to be elite. Statistics mentioned about how many level 4s are not doing gym by level 7. I know I'm over simplifying what was said, but I would read their posts and oftentimes think the same thing, but on the other hand, somewhere there have been children who have dreamed of going to the Olympics at 9. Somewhere there have been parents who may have been viewed as a nut for thinking their kid was so great, for taking them to a gym that trained so many hours. I bet some of those same kids have gone on to do great things. Somebody's kid who is doing gymnastics now will end up at the Olympics one day, will end up an elite, will end up with a college scholarship..... Their parents may well be what I would view as a crazy gym parent. I'm willing to bet many of the girls on the national team right now, I would, or many of us, would have viewed their parents as nutty or even insufferable if our girls were doing gym side by side with them. LOL that is not to say that they are, I don't even know these people, just saying

All that aside though, I do think tending to injuries is very important. And I don't think working through pain time and time again is going to be a good recipe for long term success, but that is just my opinion.
Just to play devils advocate here, and also in defense of those that seem to be overzealous to us normal folks, I think, and I am speaking from experience, it would have been nice, no great, to realize a dream at some cost, even a big cost. Not all "successful" gymnasts injured themselves permanently, in fact I think the "terrible" stories we hear are the exception and not the rule. I think many go through life hoping for greatness. And as we all know, it does not come without a cost. Many also go through life trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow up. To look back at 70 and say, I got to do what I loved to do is saying a lot. I was a dancer from age 3. I pulled many a muscle/hamstrings, injured my ankles many times, suffered through pain during performances. My knees and my back will never be the same. And even when I pushed things and reinjured myself in the process, I would do it over if the situation presented itself. All I am saying is there is something positive to be said about people who continue to persevere despite the odds. If the little girl is that determined, why not? I think those that push their limits are the ones that succeed, even if only in their monds. This type person is not your average person.

P.S. I know I am going to get killed by the statements above. But I think risks are important in life. Again, this is not for the weak of heart. I would support any of my kids who found the love and the passion for something, anything. Lastly, there is always two sides to a story. It is hard to pass judgement and make assumptions when you don't have the story of the gymnasts family or from the doctor. Peace!
 
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JudyS125

I remember reading a funny story about a parent who was called in for a parent-teacher conference. The teacher was concerned for the boy because he was so obsessed with wanting to play baseball for the Yankees someday and wouldn't consider any other possibility. The teacher wanted the parents to help direct their son toward more realistic goals. The child: Derek Jeter. :)
 
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Muddlethru

Proud Parent
Mar 16, 2011
3,536
Maryrs, i see your point in your post and respect the fact that you acknowledge the diffference between how your perspective on things is different than your friend. if I were in your shoes and had a friend I felt was going in the deep end, i do not know how I can help her. Maybe throw in a few food for thought once in a while. But often times they are too focused to see another persons point of view. Sometimes, we have no alternative than to allow our friends to make their mistakes.
 

Muddlethru

Proud Parent
Mar 16, 2011
3,536
One of the things that would bother me reading this forum, back when there seemed to be a lot of parents with young aspiring gymnastics, many who all had very big dreams, these parents were being told by more seasoned parents that they were being silly to think their kid was going to be elite. Statistics mentioned about how many level 4s are not doing gym by level 7. I know I'm over simplifying what was said, but I would read their posts and oftentimes think the same thing, but on the other hand, somewhere there have been children who have dreamed of going to the Olympics at 9. Somewhere there have been parents who may have been viewed as a nut for thinking their kid was so great, for taking them to a gym that trained so many hours. I bet some of those same kids have gone on to do great things. Somebody's kid who is doing gymnastics now will end up at the Olympics one day, will end up an elite, will end up with a college scholarship..... Their parents may well be what I would view as a crazy gym parent. I'm willing to bet many of the girls on the national team right now, I would, or many of us, would have viewed their parents as nutty or even insufferable if our girls were doing gym side by side with them. LOL that is not to say that they are, I don't even know these people, just saying

I just read your post again and as far as the above quoted part of your post, I completely agree with you. It was often times hard for me to read those posts where new parents were harshly put down by other parents for innocently asking or believing their daughter might be the next Olympic champion. Some were not even that seasoned I imagine. It is also one of the reasons, I hesitate and am afraid of posting anything. I blew up once because instead of answering a question I posted, a poster was quick to assume I was getting involved in petty drama. But having been part of chalkbucket for a while now, I think there are also those well meaning parents who are sharing their experiences and who are truly trying to help. There are a few members who have helped me through the years and continue to be willing to provide me with sound advise. I just wished for the others that kinder, softer words are used to let people down.
 
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