“Actually girls on sports teams I've played with have gone through it. Like, I've known people that were in the same programs at the same time as me,” says 17 year old MacKenna Moriarty who is recovering from an eating disorder.
MacKenna, a senior at
“I've always had issues with body image and feeling accepted and I feel like that's how it started,” says MacKenna, “so someone would say ‘McKenna, try and make that sprint a little faster’, and it's like oh, maybe if I was thinner I would be faster…I was restricting everything.”
“She's over-driven, a perfectionist, wants everything just right,” says Sue Moriarty, MacKenna’s mother who spotted her daughter’s eating disorder.
Calories and over-exercising was a way MacKenna kept control, until her actions went out of control.
“It became too much probably sophomore and junior year. It became way too intense,” says MacKenna, “I was between 115 and 120 pounds.” The optimal weight for a young girl of six feet in height is a minimum of 160 pounds.
“We would hear a lot from parents that they just felt like coaches do try but they don't necessarily understand the illness,” says Dr. Mary Tantillo, the director the
“I would almost put money on the fact that there's a kid in there who's struggling or on their way to struggling and the disease is not going to let that kid tell the coach or parents.” Which is why Tantillo says it is important for coaches and parents alike to pay attention to the signs. “If they notice somebody cutting back and focusing on ‘I have to lose weight to increase my performance’, I have to decrease my body fat then they're absolutely obsessed with that.“
Changes do not necessarily include extreme weight loss there can be subtle changes in behavior such as anxiety, depression and fatigue.
For more information about eating disorders, call Unity Healths Eating Disorder Center at: (585) 368-3709 or visit: www.unityhealth.org