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Gymnastics/Olympic dream with mild disc desiccation


Hello, Thankyou for your time. My daughter is 14 years old and has trained gymnastics 28hrs+ per week since 8yrs old aiming for senior International level she is now a junior. She injured her tailbone but after 5 weeks the pain also went to her back , then she stopped training,completely. The back pain vanished within 2 weeks but tailbone lingered another few. Xray was all clear so she had MRI which showed L5/S1 mild disc desiccation, minimal generalised disc bulge,tiny tear no canal narrowing.  One doctor advised to quit gym completely as she could not continue at such a high level for another 4 years. Gymnastics is her life, I have had so many contradictions from physios etc and don't want her to quit unnecessarily.  Also now coaches are saying must have medical clearance to be under their supervision. She has not trained at all for 8 weeks, has continued with pilates back strengthening,walking and flexibility.  Physio has suggested she continue on bar and possibly beam and reasses in 6mnths. Do you feel that her injury can be managed  and still be competitive towards 2016 or should we accept it's over. What do you feel her options are?

Hi Monique,
The first thing I want to tell you is that making it to a specific olympics is not the determining factor in persuing an olympic dream.  There are both men and women much older than your daughter who competed in the olympics this year, as there have been and will be in every olympics.  

It sounds like your daughter is doing very well, and the gradual return to training makes sense to me.  As long as she continues to stretch and condition her body (which can be done at home) then skills will come easily when she is ready to be in the gym doing them.

In my opinion it is most important to enjoy the sport, then everything will come easier and be more satisfying.


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Robert Davis


I can answer questions about technique, strength and endurance training, healing from injuries, and competitions. I can also answer questions from parents of gymnasts, as I have six children of my own now. I plan to write a freely downloadable ebook or guide soon, go to to tell me what you want help with!


I competed in gymnastics for 16 years, from age 8 to 24, the last six of those years on the Arizona State Men's Gymnastics Team ( After almost a 10 year hiatus I've returned to competition, see


I have a BSE and MS in Electrical Engineering from Arizona State University. During those 6 years I was a member of the Arizona State Men's Gymnastics Team as well.

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