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29 Jun 2016

Young Gymnast with Freiberg’s Disease Competes for the Last Time

Young Gymnast with Freiberg’s Disease Competes for the Last Time

Emma Grace Ducksworth started her gymnastics journey at a 'tot and me' class at Taylor Gymnastics when she was just 2 years old and instantly fell in love with the sport. Two years later, when Emma Grace was 4 years old, she was invited to join the competitive team at the gym’s 'Dynamite' level, making her the youngest member on the team. At age 5, she was crowned the Florida State Balance Beam Champion for her age group and level. Realizing their daughter’s potential, Emma Grace’s parents began homeschooling her to accommodate the time commitment that her gymnastics schedule and travel required. 

Then in April of 2015, Emma Grace fell off the beam at practice and broke her toe, just three weeks before her state meet. The Orthopedic doctor told her that she couldn't compete, but Emma Grace was determined.  She stayed off of that foot as much as possible, but she continued to train and at the end of April, she competed.  She was in a lot of pain, and didn't get her best scores, but she did it.  However, the pain in her right foot continued for another six months, and in October, she went back to the doctor.  At that appointment Emma Grace was told she had Freiberg's Disease and the doctor recommended that she quit gymnastics immediately. Naturally, both Emma Grace and her parents were devastated. Emma Grace wanted more than anything to be able to continue participating in the sport that she loved, so her doctor offered a compromise. If Emma Grace cut back her workouts to only twice a week at no more than 2 hours each, she could compete one last season. This week, Emma Grace will compete for the very last time at AAU’s Gymnastics Age Group Nationals at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida. 

(Emma Grace is the gymnast on the far right of the picture above).

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