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Bridgett's Story: Anorexia and Bulimia Ruined Career in Sports

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Anorexia and bulimia eventually took away her beloved career in sports. Now she is helping to increase awareness of this problem—especially in the world of college athletes.


My name is Bridgett McAdams. I am 25 years old, and I have recently graduated from San Diego State University with a B.S. in Fitness, Nutrition, and Health. My plan was to be a Fitness Director on a cruise ship. If someone had asked me less than a year ago what was the one thing that I loved most about life, I would have said going on a long run. If someone had asked me to recall one of my best days in the past 5 years, I would have said the day that I ran the San Diego half marathon and went and played a soccer game afterwards. On January 5th of this year a specialist informed me that I would never run or play soccer again. He immediately asked me what my career goals were, and when I told him, he suggested that I go to law school. He continued to tell me that I would not be able to pursue a career that required me to be on my feet.

I had a stress fracture in the neck of my femur that was diagnosed and operated on in March of 1999. The continued abuse of my body led to avascular necrosis (loss of blood supply to the bone) in the head of my femur by December of that same year. I have bordered between anorexia and bulimia for the last 10 years of my life. At the time my stress fracture was diagnosed, I was the epitome of the female athlete triad: disordered eating, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis.

To have my greatest passion in life taken away from me and to know that, to a degree, it is something that I did to myself is something that I have to live with every day. The main goal of my project is to keep at least one young athlete from going through the mental and physical pain that I have gone through and to help young girls take pride in their bodies and their individuality. I am going to be crutching and possibly wheel-chairing down the coast of California from the Redwood Forest to San Diego talking to schools and athletic teams, as well as parents and coaches, in an attempt to make people open their eyes to this growing epidemic.


Just a little F.Y.I.:

32% of female collegiate athletes have reported having eating disorders.

14% of male collegiate athletes have disordered eating patterns.

In sports such as gymnastics and dance those numbers are as high as 62%.

These numbers represent the athletes who would admit to disordered eating. Many people are embarrassed or ashamed of the problem; thus, these numbers are probably low.

10% of those diagnosed with an eating disorder will die from complications associated with the disorder.

Girls ages 12-15 have the worst nutrition of any age group in the U.S. population, followed by girls ages 16-19.

53% of girls at age 13 are unhappy with their body. By 18 years of age, that number has grown to 78%.

150,000 girls and women will die from anorexia this year.


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