May 28, 2020 / Sports Medicine

Share Your Story: An Elite Transition

Meet Kyleigh, an elite athlete who is seen by our multidisciplinary team of experts. She experienced a gymnastics related elbow injury in 2015. Surgery and physical therapy allowed her to return to the gym, but then in 2018 she suffered a wrist injury and was unable to return to the sport. Kyleigh has since been able to transition sports and is now a competitive diver. Learn more about her journey below.

Blog written by Kyleigh, of Colleyville, TX
I was 4 years old when I started gymnastics classes and had just turned 7 years old when I did my first competition.

Just before my elbow injury and surgery in 2015, I placed 1st all-around at the Level 8 Regional Gymnastics Meet and had the second highest all-around score out of 403 level 8 gymnasts in Region 3. I was one of the top 15 gymnasts nominated for International Gymnast Magazine’s Gymnast of the Year Award. Between my elbow and wrist injuries and surgeries, I was only able to compete in three meets. In what was the last meet of my gymnastics career, I placed first on the bars and floor in the Level 9 Western Championships Gymnastics Meet.

When I had my initial elbow injury, Dr. Ellis and Dr. Wilson collaborated with other doctors at Scottish Rite to not only fix my elbow, but also allow me to return to gymnastics. I felt like my doctors also understood my drive and competitive nature as a young athlete. Dr. Ellis and Dr. Stutz helped me try to balance the high level of training I was doing, while giving my injuries time to heal and help prevent further injuries.

Retiring from gymnastics was the hardest decision I have had to make. Verbal commitments for college gymnastics scholarships start during your freshman year of high school and I was beginning that process. While thinking about what college I might want to attend to continue my gymnastics career, one main thought kept going through my mind... "Do I want to continue to endure head to toe pain for eight more years?" The answer was "no." I decided to hang up my grips and retire from gymnastics. It was a hard and tearful decision, but I know it was the right one for me.

So, what was next? I love training, staying fit and competing, and I wanted to keep that in my life. I figured my 11 years of gymnastics training might transition well into diving. I always looked forward to watching diving during the Olympics and I enjoyed diving off my backyard diving board, so I thought I’d give it a try. I was also transitioning from an online high school program, back into a traditional high school. My new school had a diving team and I thought this was a good way to become involved at my new school. Thankfully, my transition to diving has gone even better than I had hoped it would. I have virtually no pain - well, unless I do a belly flop or back flop (called a “smack” in diving) while learning a new dive. 
I am training to qualify again for the Junior Olympic Nationals this August. I also want to qualify to compete at the Senior Winter Nationals in December 2020. I would love to earn a diving college scholarship to compete at a D1 university. 



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