Mental health visits are now a part of USAG’s athlete support programming – Other gym news – Thoughts from Sydney Soloski and other retired gymnasts on life after NCAA
The IX: Gymnastics Saturday with Lela Moore, Oct. 1, 2022
USAG now offers mental health care to National Team gymnasts and coaches in all disciplines. A partnership with GK Elite, the leotard company, is funding the health and wellness program incorporating mental health benefits.
They announced this on Monday, World Mental Health Day.
As GymCastic pointed out this week, it is not standard in the United States for health insurance to cover mental health care, whether that includes therapy, medication, rehab, or what have you. Some companies and some plans cover it better than others, which means that access to the best treatment for you can be really hit or miss. Often, the people and institutions who provide mental health care do not even accept insurance, which limits their client base to those who can afford to pay out of pocket.
Members of the National Team in all USAG disciplines (women’s and men’s artistic, rhythmic, trampoline & tumbling, acro, parkour) can now access eight mental-health visits per year; coaches can access four visits per year. They will be reimbursed up to $125 per visit. Athletes and coaches may choose their own providers.
Athletes and coaches also have access to mental health support, including an emergency support plan, at all National Team events, and to webinars and an online database of mental health and wellness resources, according to a USAG press release this week. All USAG staff must undergo mental health first aid training.
If you are saying, well, that’s not enough, you’re right. Eight visits a year is fewer than some people will want or need to maintain good mental health.
If you are also saying, well, that’s an enormous change for them to make just a year after Simone Biles withdrew from the Olympic team final in Tokyo to attend to her mental health, and just five years after Aly Raisman wrote in her book Fierce that she had to go outside the system to get the type of help USAG is now offering from inside, you’re also right.
And I’d rather err on the side of the latter than the former.
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Other gym news
Suni Lee was named the 2022 Individual Sportswoman of the Year by the Women’s Sports Foundation.
USAG announced the lineup for the worlds selection camp. No Konnor McClain, which we knew; no Kayla DiCello, which we suspected. But Leanne Wong is back! This will be a good one. The camp will be live-streamed on FlipNow on Friday, October 21 at 7 p.m. ET and Saturday, October 22 at 5:50 p.m. ET.
Addison Fatta, Szombathely World Challenge Cup gold and bronze medalist, is ready for selection camp.
Reagan Chan will represent the U.S. at the first FIG Parkour World Championships, to be held October 14-16 in Tokyo.
Switzerland announced its worlds team. Anina Wildi is the sole woman attending.
Giorgia Villa discussed her back injury and recovery from surgery on an IG story, where she said she is looking forward to her return to competition.
Katelyn Jong verbally committed to Auburn. She will begin in 2024.
Lexy Ramler got engaged! The guy is cute, sure, but we’re really wild about their dog.
The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette interviewed Jordyn Wieber, and it’s a terrific story.
Five at the IX: Retired gymnasts on the transition from NCAA to postcollegiate life
Sydney Soloski, the former Canadian national team member who graduated from Utah after completing her Covid season in 2021-22, invited retired gymnasts to respond to a tweet about how they felt their college or university prepared them for life after NCAA gym. She got several replies, including one inviting coaches to weigh in on how they approached this topic with athletes.
I chose five well-known former collegiate gymnasts from those who responded to Soloski to spotlight here.
Olivia Karas (Michigan)
Stella Saviddou (UCLA)
AJ Jackson (Oklahoma)
Sienna Crouse (Nebraska)
Christy Linder Sharp (Michigan State)
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