NCAA highlights teaching case on eating disorders among college athletes

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A new teaching case developed by the STRIPED program (Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders) at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health exploring issues around eating disorders among college athletes was chosen by the NCAA Sport Science Institute as part of the educational materials it made available for universities during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, February 22–28, 2015. STRIPED, which is also based at Boston Children’s Hospital, is a training program focused on eating disorders prevention.

The new STRIPED case centers on the fictional Colburn University, known for its award-winning Division I athletic teams. Eating disorders become an issue on campus after a comment by the athletic director about athletes with eating disorders draws negative media attention and a parent calls with concerns about her athlete daughter. Throughout the narrative, different perspectives on sports and eating disorders are revealed, from top-level administrators to the student-athletes themselves.  As the story concludes, the conversation about eating disorders has begun, but questions still remain on how to make Colburn University a healthy environment for its student-athletes.

STRIPED Director Bryn Austin, associate professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, discussed the case in a Q&A published on the NCAA Sports Science Institute website and in a special edition of the Institute’s email newsletter for athletic trainers, coaches, and others interested in sports and health.