With spring sports well on their way and summer training al- ready being organized, students need to worry about making the cut, as well as their grades. Here are a few points to ponder as those students who are struggling with eating disorders try to stay in the game.
HIPAA? If the parents have not authorized the doctor or therapist to speak to a coach or school staff about their child, medical and mental health codes may prevent that caregiver from speaking up. Consequently, it may fall on the coach and staff to note the warning signs and take precautions to make sure that their athletes are healthy and able to perform at their best.
If they are doing well, why not? Eating disorders can cause severe health problems that may not be immediately apparent and may not be fully reversible. Athletes may still be able to perform well even though the illness has already affected their health. For example, anorexia can lead to a loss in bone calcium, making the athlete's bones more prone to breaking.
What are the signs? Watch your athletes’ weight goals, eating habits, and attitudes. Keep in mind that these young people need to maintain a healthy weight that will sustain their growth and development. A student exerting himself in practice and competition will need more energy (i.e. more food) than a sedentary student. Are your athletes adjusting their food intake to match their energy needs, or are they cut- ting back or counting their calories?