Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

She Beat Diagnosis, Competition; despite Elbow Injury, Gymnast Is a Winner

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

She Beat Diagnosis, Competition; despite Elbow Injury, Gymnast Is a Winner

Article excerpt

Byline: Mary Maraghy, County Line staff writer

Brittany Clark, a USA League competitive gymnast with Olympic-sized goals, was told by doctors that her athletic career was over when X-rays revealed a pea-sized hole, like a divot, in her elbow.

But the 14-year-old Pace Island girl is proving them wrong as she racks up medals and trophies on the USA League circuit.

So far in 2005, the extremely shy yet extremely determined athlete has placed first in five Level 9 vault competitions and qualified for the state championships in Tallahassee next weekend. Level 10 is the highest in the USA League.

Brittany, an A student at Green Cove Springs Junior High, has been doing gymnastics since she was 4. She practices three hours a day, five to six days a week. Her parents said she's never complained of aches or pains.

"We never even know if she's sick," said her father, Michael Clark.

About two years ago, coaches noticed during practice that Brittany's right arm wasn't straight. A doctor diagnosed her with an advanced case of osteochondrosis, also known as pitcher's disease. It's an unusual condition that normally affects growing children whose joints undergo repeated stress, like Little League pitchers. Some get better. Some don't. Doctors told her: No more gymnastics.

"She was devastated. She cried. She couldn't believe it," her father said.

Brittany's bedrooms walls are covered with medals and lined with trophies.

"It [gymnastics] has been my lifelong dream ever since I saw Shannon Miller," Brittany said, referring to the American gymnast who won five medals during the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.

The Clarks took Brittany to several doctors who tried electronic bone growth stimulators and other therapies. Finally they were referred to Steve Jordan, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in Tallahassee. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.