Sylvia Hoffman Olympic athlete

Feb 01, 2022 / Scoliosis & Spine

Share Your Story: Going for Gold

Meet Sylvia - a patient who was seen by our spine experts. Learn more about her journey below.

Blog written by Sylvia. 

I was around 12 years old when I was diagnosed with scoliosis. My curve was identified during my routine 8th grade school physical, and my school nurse recommended going to Scottish Rite for Children to get it checked out. At my young age, I had no idea such a facility like Scottish Rite existed! 
At that time, I was still young and in junior high, therefore my treatment ended up lasting for the rest of my school-age years. My curve was caught at 39°, and I wore my scoliosis brace for a total of 5.5 years, 16-18 hours a day. I would describe my experience with Scottish Rite as incredibly valuable. It was empowering for me to know that I would have to challenge myself, every single day, to not let my spinal health change my goals of becoming an Olympic Athlete.
My favorite thing about my check-ups at Scottish Rite was being able to find out how much progress I had made from wearing my back brace. In my mind, the straighter my spine, the healthier I would be as I grew into adulthood. My personal desire to become an Olympian helped keep me going. 
The doctors we worked with made me feel like I had a team that cared about my well-being. To this day, I have continued to follow my dreams. I am an engineer and a multi-sport athlete whose main sports are basketball, weightlifting and bobsled. I have represented Team USA in weightlifting three times, participated in three full Winter World Cup tours as a bobsledder and now I am on the women’s bobsled team, representing the United States at the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games.  
Every day, I give it my all. I believe that achieving and living your dreams is based on your efforts. I could have given up years ago but choosing to fight for my mental and physical health was the best decision I have ever made. None of this would have been possible if it weren’t for my family, my team at Scottish Rite and my friends that have supported me.  
While I will always have scoliosis, I am also the number one brakewoman for Team USA Bobsled & Skeleton and am competing in the 2022 Beijing Olympics. As a growing adolescent, Scottish Rite helped me overcome so much. At a time when I thought my Olympic dreams would never come true, Scottish Rite was with me and helped me to continue my pursuit of becoming an Olympic athlete. 
Every struggle is different, but you have the power to set the tone for your life. You can do anything you set your mind to, all you have to do is believe.

Bobsled - Olympic Schedule 



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