Sports don’t just keep Lara Green in shape ” they’re vital to her well being. The Vail Mountain School senior was diagnosed with cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS) when she was in middle school. When faced with stressful situations, she would vomit for anywhere from four to 14 days.
“I’ve resorted to sports, which are natural stress relievers,” she said. “Volleyball, tennis, yoga ” anything that will help relieve stress.”
She also learned how to manage her time and schedule so she can walk into a test and perform. Sleep plays a big part, and being in tune with her body plays another.
Learning those new survival skills opened a whole world to the student, who is as fascinated by psychology as she is passionate about it. For her senior project, she’s studying the psychological and social risks adolescent girls face with cystic fibrosis, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, CVS and severe asthma.
“I’m playing a psychologist when I’m not a psychologist,” she said. “Really, this is practice for a thesis or dissertation in college.”
Green intentionally chose a wide range of disorders that include both cognitive and physical difficulties. She wanted to hone in on disorders that are challenging for people to live with, but not so extreme that they’re taken out of the mainstream.
“So far, I’ve discovered that socially they’re at risk for depression and emotional stress,” she said.
She began her project by researching all five disorders individually so she’d have a good understanding of each one. Then she read Eric Eriksen and Carol Gilligan’s treatise on the psychological and social development of adolescent girls. She spent the bulk of her time interviewing girls who suffer from at least one of the five disorders.
“I hope this can really help people,” Green said. “They can look at this, say, ‘Hey, I’m at risk for these things,’ and figure out a way to avoid it.”
Green is extremely competitive, and spends a lot of time on the tennis and volleyball courts. The second-highest ranking singles player in her school, she plans on attending Southern Methodist University in Dallas. She’s fired up about heading off to college.
“Personally, I had to embrace school instead of reject it,” said the student. “That’s the only way it works for me.”
And she’s not afraid of working for her success.
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