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Like so many during the pandemic, Julia Bowser struggled. Without gymnastics and the social support from her friends, she had a difficult time adapting to all the changes and isolation that came with lockdown. She developed anxiety and depression and was seen by the behavioral health team at Dayton Children’s Hospital to help her manage the conditions.

As the shutdown continued, Julia lost time in the gym and struggled to regain skills she had formerly mastered. These setbacks caused further anxiety, as well as physical pain.

When seeing another Dayton Children’s provider for a recurring injury, he mentioned the Center for the Female Athlete and suggested that she may be a good candidate.

The Center for the Female Athlete is an innovative, multidisciplinary program designed to tackle barriers and gaps in female athletes’ physical, nutritional and emotional health. The center is the only one of its kind in Ohio and is led by an all-female team that works with female athletes, ages 11-18, to help them grow into strong young women who are prepared to treat their bodies in ways that will keep them physically and emotionally healthy.

Julia was seen at the Center for the Female Athlete by Dr. Lora Scott, MD, program director of sports medicine at Dayton Children’s. “From our first appointment with Dr. Scott, the team has exceeded expectations in providing care for my daughter,” said Julia’s mom, Susan. “They listen, motivate and care for the whole athlete. The care they have provided Julia, both physically and mentally, has allowed her to be on top of her game again.”

With support from the center’s multidisciplinary team, Julia began to not only recover, but thrive. She went from an athlete struggling in the sport she loves to eating healthy to fuel her body, doing physical therapy to heal her body, and to being mentally fit in order to succeed in and out of the gym.

Recently, she even competed in a statewide gymnastics’ meet with more than 200 athletes and finished in third place.

“For families considering being part of the Center for the Female Athlete, I would tell them to trust that the team cares for the whole athlete. They support recovery every step of the way,” said Susan. “This program leaves no stone unturned to provide the exact care your child needs. They are a valuable support system and your child's biggest cheerleader!”

To learn more about the Center for the Female Athlete, families can visit www.childrensdayton.org/centerforthefemaleathlete. Athletes can also schedule a free 30-minute consult with one of the center’s athletic trainers to learn more about the program and see if they are a good fit. To book a consult, click here.