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Wednesday
Feb212018

Arizona couple allegedly locked adopted children in rooms without food, water

Pima County Sheriff's Office (TUCSON, Ariz.) -- An Arizona couple was arrested for child abuse after allegedly locking their adopted children in rooms without food, water or a bathroom, officials said.

The investigation began Saturday when a boy in "disheveled condition" asked to use the phone at a Family Dollar store in Tucson, and the store clerk called 911 to report the suspicious activity, the Pima County Sheriff's Office said in a news release Tuesday.

When deputies responded to the boy's home, they found four children -- ages 6 to 12 -- and learned they were kept in separate bedrooms that were locked from the outside, the sheriff's office said.

The sheriff's office said the children were regularly kept in their locked rooms for up to 12 hours at a time without access to food, water, a bathroom or lights.

One bedroom had a bucket as a toilet, the sheriff's office said.

The child who asked to use the Family Dollar store phone had escaped through a window at the home, according to the sheriff's office.

The other four children were removed from the home while the adoptive parents, Benito Gutierrez, 69, and Carol Gutierrez, 64, were arrested and each charged with three counts of child abuse, the sheriff's office said.

They made their first court appearance Wednesday morning and were held on $25,000 bond, reported ABC affiliate KGUN-TV in Tucson. They return to court March 5.

Last month, two Southern California parents were arrested for allegedly holding their 13 children captive in their home.

David and Louise Turpin allegedly forced the children to shower only once a year, shackled them and beat them routinely, prosecutors said. The victims weren't released from their chains even to go to the bathroom, according to prosecutors.

They were arrested after the couple’s 17-year-old daughter escaped and alerted authorities.

David and Louise Turpin have each been charged with 12 counts of torture, 12 counts of false imprisonment, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult and six counts of child abuse. David Turpin was also charged with one count of a lewd act on a child under the age of 14 by force, fear or duress. They have pleaded not guilty.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Feb202018

Comfort dogs descend on Florida community after deadly school shooting

iStock/Thinkstock(PARKLAND, Fla.) -- The handlers behind the comfort dogs making their way through the Florida community where 17 students and teachers were killed in a school shooting last week have a saying.

"We like to say, 'Comfort walks in on four paws,'" Brenda Burden told ABC News today.

Burden and her husband, Phil, of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, have been in Parkland, Florida, this week with their dog Sasha and others with Lutheran Church Charities' K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry.

The ministry was started in August 2008 and dispatches golden retrievers around the U.S. to help those grieving after tragedy. One dog named Jacob had traveled to Las Vegas and Orlando after the deadly mass shootings in those cities last year and the year before.

The ministry has more than 130 comfort dogs in more than 20 states has training sites in Illinois and Nebraska. The dogs are trained to remain calm and soothe people who are grieving or distressed.

According to the organization, the dogs had been dispatched to comfort residents and survivors after the Sandy Hook school massacre as well as after Hurricane Harvey.

According to Dana Yocum of Lutheran Church Charities, the ministry relies solely on donations for funding.

Burden said that 3-year-old Sasha and the other dogs were doing visits all week.

"We have been visiting the community at the Parkland amphitheater. We have been visiting first responders to thank them for their services," she said. "Today, we started visiting elementary schools."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Feb202018

Flu vaccine: Will it work better next season?

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Flu season isn’t over yet, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that in less than two weeks they will be putting together a panel of experts to help select strains for next season’s flu vaccine.

The influenza virus changes or mutates every year, which makes it very difficult to create a vaccine. It also takes several months to produce the influenza vaccine, which is why health officials are getting started even before this season ends.

While the flu vaccine remains the best method to prevent illness and death during the flu season, a new study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases investigates why “vaccine effectiveness continues to be modest.”

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, FDA commissioner, in his statement on the efficacy of the 2017-2018 influenza vaccine states, “This year much of the illness has been caused by one strain of influenza A called H3N2, with another strain of influenza A called H1N1 and strains of influenza B contributing to lesser extents.”

The effectiveness of the flu vaccine for H3N2 is estimated to be around 25 percent this season, according to an interim report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Overall, this season’s vaccine is 36 percent effective. That means that over one-third of the people who get the shot won’t get the flu. In children, it’s even more effective -- 59 percent.

With vaccines against common childhood diseases effective in more than 90 percent of people, why is targeting the flu so difficult?

Researchers have found that poor immune response, based on past encounters with flu strains, is the culprit. When people get the flu virus or vaccine, their immune system makes antibodies that recognize and attack those strains. Antibodies made earlier in life have a stronger response, and affect how the immune system makes future antibodies. A person’s immune response could be worse at making effective antibodies, even if the vaccine protects against the right strains.

"We see that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people were infected with similar flu viruses and that the vaccine didn’t elicit a strong immune response from most people,” Dr. Yonatan Grad, Ph.D., assistant professor of immunology and infectious diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and co-author of the study, said in reference to his study analyzing 2012-2013 H3N2 data in a press release.

The CDC admits that vaccine effectiveness estimates against influenza A (H3N2) viruses have been lower than estimates against influenza A (H1N1) and influenza B viruses for several years. They cite factors such as age, baseline health status and that year’s vaccine “match” -- the similarity between the viruses used to make the vaccine and the ones that are prevalent in a certain year. They also acknowledge that more research is needed to determine if vaccine effectiveness changes between egg-based and non–egg-based vaccines. It is thought that non-egg-based vaccines are less likely to have mutations that lead to less protective effects.

However, the study authors conclude that egg-based vaccines did not explain the low H3N2 vaccine efficacy rate, at least not in 2012-2013.

The leading health officials insist that even with current vaccine effectiveness estimates, vaccination will still help prevent influenza illness, including thousands of hospitalizations and deaths.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Feb192018

This city is equipping its first responders with active shooter kits

iStock/Thinkstock(NASHUA, N.H.) -- First responders in Nashua, New Hampshire, completed the final phase of a yearlong project last Tuesday, equipping their vehicles with active shooter kits.

The idea, Chris Stawasz, the regional director for American Medical Response in New Hampshire, told ABC affiliate WMUR, is for EMT, fire and police units to be able to deploy the necessary tools as quickly as possible in the event of a mass casualty shooting incident.

"The most important piece of these active shooter events, which are generally over very quickly, is to get inside and rescue anybody who still has an opportunity to be saved," Stawasz said.

Shooting injuries are always serious; however, in mass casualty incidents like the one in Parkland, Florida, last week that killed 17, injuries tend to be much more dangerous. School shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz used an AR-15-style rifle, the bullets of which travel at around 3,200 feet per second, depending on their weight, or about three times as fast as the bullets in a 9mm handgun, according to Time.

"Typical gunfire from a .22 or something is a very small hole. Some of these things are just massive destruction to the human body," Stawasz said.

The high-caliber weapons usually used in mass shooting events can cause a tremendous amount of damage and bleeding. With that in mind, the active shooter kits in Nashua all come equipped with tourniquets, bandages and specialized clotting material that help blood clot more quickly than it normally would.

“This is a kit that where we can deploy it really quickly, throw it into a scene and, if there's multiple casualties, you can use that kit as your primary source of equipment to go out and save these people,” Stawasz told WMUR.

Nashua police were the first to get the kits, then the fire departments and finally the primary ambulances. The EMT go-bags even have quick roll-out stretchers, like reinforced sheets with handles, so that victims who are unable to walk can be dragged away from the scene.

"Unfortunately, these events are becoming far too common, and we want to be prepared in the city and respond to them if they do happen here," Stawasz said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Feb182018

Tiny house on wheels takes minimalist living to the next level

ABC News(PESARO, Italy) -- Having grown up in a tiny room in his family’s home in Pesaro, Italy, 27-year-old architect Leonardo Di Chiara is used to living a minimalist lifestyle.

His latest project, the aVOID tiny house, currently on display -- and inhabited -- by the architect in Berlin, takes the concept of reductionist living to the next level.

Measuring just 96 square feet and equipped with all one needs to live, the home seeks to challenge the concept of traditional housing.

“It’s a tiny house and it’s on wheels, so you can move it wherever you want. You can live wherever you want,” the architect told ABC News.

aVOID is part of the tiny-house social and architectural movement started in the U.S. in the 1980s and has seen a resurgence in the past several years. The concept centers around downsizing one’s home to live a more sustainable and minimalistic lifestyle, using few resources.

Since 1973, the typical size of a U.S. home has doubled -- peaking at just over 2,600 square feet, according to U.S. census data. Tiny houses, meanwhile, are typically 100 to 150 square feet, on wheels, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

With furniture such as tables, chairs, a bed and a sofa folding out of the walls of the structure, Di Chiara’s home has been likened to a Swiss Army knife. Yet the project is no novelty -- Di Chiara hopes it will be a model for those who want to live with less, without the burden of paying high rents increasingly plaguing many large cities, including Berlin.

Di Chiara intends for its user to live in unoccupied spaces in the city.

He said he hopes aVOID will be part of what he calls migratory neighborhoods -- clusters of tiny homes on wheels integrated within city centers.

For now, it's a work in progress. "Living in the tiny home is a challenge," Di Chiara admitted, largely because it is still a work in progress. He is constantly discovering problems and finding ways to resolve them, often with the help of products provided by sponsors who believe in his vision, he said.

"I realized that the air inside gets too stuffy, especially during the night," Di Chiara said. To resolve the problem, he partnered with a company that provided a prototype ventilation system.

Despite the challenges, Di Chiara said he plans to live in the house for an entire year, but aims to call it home for life once it is perfected. He said he also allows others to try out living in the house for a night or two, provided they give him feedback.

Di Chiara’s aVOID house is one of over a dozen small structures on the Bauhaus Museum campus in Berlin. It is part of the "Tinyhouse University," a nonprofit founded in 2016 by German architect Van Bo Le-Mentzel that brought together architects, designers and refugees to explore different housing typologies.

“We want to create solutions for living in an innovative way that allow people to be very active in the process of living, including designing, building and living in the house,” said Di Chiara. Some of the tiny buildings are cafes, while others are living spaces and workspaces.

aVOID is a prototype for a single working professional and takes inspiration from the Bauhaus design movement, which combined art with the industrialization process.

Di Chiara is working on lowering the production costs to make aVOID available to anyone who would like to own it, regardless of their income level. The materials for the home cost €45,000 (about $56,000), and it was built and customized by the architect himself. Di Chiara said he hopes to eventually be able to lower total production costs to €30,000 (roughly $37,000) through mass production.

First, though, he'll need to get others onboard. It's currently illegal in Berlin to have a migratory neighborhood along the lines of Di Chiara's vision, so his goal is to first raise awareness of tiny-house living before holding serious discussions with city officials. He said he plans to set his sights on Milan, where rents are higher and there is less empty urban space than in Berlin.

In March, Di Chiara will take the home on a seven-city tour, ending in Rome.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Feb172018

'Black Panther' and mental health in the Black community

IMDB(NEW YORK) -- Black Panther signals a revolutionary moment –- not only in its implications for Black culture, but also for Black mental health.

“At a very basic level, representation affects people's identity,” said Dr. Ruth Shim, Director of Cultural Psychiatry and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at University of California, Davis. “Having positive representations and people reflecting the diversity of what they can be and experience can be protective against depression and anxiety stemming from negative images.”

Indeed, Black representation in pop culture has expanded in recent years. Television shows such as "Insecure," "Empire" and "Black-ish" feature predominantly Black casts. Films like the comedy-horror "Get Out" satirize racial disparities, while "Hidden Figures" and "Moonlight" portray different Black realities. But "Black Panther" forms a category all its own: Black superheroes and superheroines in a sci-fi world.

Take Wakanda, the fictional nation in which "Black Panther" is based. Wakanda is particularly evocative because it re-envisions reality. It asks not what is, but what could be. Imagine if racism, poverty, and chronic illness –- all risk factors for depression and anxiety disorders among Black Americans –- simply did not exist. They don’t in Wakanda.

The world depicted in "Black Panther" brings with it an unstated question" “Would the rates of depression and anxiety among Black Americans change if reality were different?”

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and a serious medical illness that can cause specific mood, mental and physical symptoms. It is also associated with higher rates of chronic disease, increased need for health care, and difficulty functioning at work, at home and in social settings.

A 2009-2012 survey by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showed that Black people are significantly more likely to have depressive symptoms than whites – and those symptoms are more likely to be severe.

“Sometimes we think of ourselves as weak, hopeless, that we don’t have that light. There’s a dark cloud that’s there,” said Stephanie Grimes, a depression and anxiety survivor who founded the Detroit-based mental health organization Hope360. “But with these superheroes, it shines a light and lets people know that we struggle with some things, but we can feel accomplished and have hope too,” she said. “Things can change. Things can get better.”

Psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark affirmed the negative impact of racism on self-esteem in the 1940s through “The Doll Tests.” These series of experiments demonstrated that, regardless of race, children as early as 3 years old preferred the white doll to a Black one, and attributed positive characteristics to it, while attributing negative characteristics to the Black doll.

“I feel like I just went through the largest therapy session in cinematic form,” said Dr. Italo Brown, a Jacobi and Montefiore Medical Center emergency medicine resident physician who wrote about why he wants to move to Wakanda to practice medicine. “It was group therapy with 100 people – everything from dressing the part, showing up with people you’re comfortable with, and being vulnerable. You saw a representation of what you’re capable of,” he said.

While depression is most effectively treated with a combination of medication and therapy, only 33.6 percent of Black people with severe depression were in contact with a mental health professional within a year. Younger men of color who report daily feelings of depression or anxiety are also less likely to take medication or talk to a mental health professional compared to their white peers, according to the CDC.

That could be because they can’t afford it, because of mental health stigma, or mistrust of a medical system that has a history darkened by racist experimentation, said Dr. Karinn Glover, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

“You're treating a society-wide phenomenon of depression and anxiety wrapped up in racial trauma and oppression. There are so many microaggressions and inequalities embedded in American culture,” Glover said. “That has a subconscious toll on the psyche.”

While there’s more work needed to create communities where people care for each other and distribute the “wealth of the kingdom,” Brown said, Black celebrities, like hip-hop mogul and entrepreneur Jay-Z, are reducing stigma by opening up about their own experiences with therapy.

“Mental health is a path to freedom,” Glover said, noting that as a Black female psychiatrist, “what inspires me is justice, leveling the playing field and restoring the balance of power.”

Immediately after watching "Black Panther," Glover said, “I’m glowing on the inside. I was just thrilled to see such gorgeous and real representations – that spirit and tenderness and bravery.”

This article was written by Christy Duan and Jay-Sheree Allen for ABC News. Duan is a psychiatry resident physician at Zucker Hillside Hospital in New York and a resident at the ABC News Medical Unit. Read more of her work at www.christyduan.com. Allen is a family medicine resident physician at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and a resident at the ABC News Medical Unit.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Feb172018

Identical twin brothers propose to identical twin sisters: 'It was amazing'

Courtesy Brittany Deane(NEW YORK) -- Two sets of identical twins are now planning a joint wedding after twin brothers proposed to twin sisters on February 2, or 2-2.

Brittany and Briana Deane met Josh and Jeremy Salyers last August at The Twins Days Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio, which bills itself as the "largest annual gathering of twins (and other multiples) in the world," according to its website.

Although the 31-year-old Deane twins have been trekking to the festival from their home in Virginia since 2011, for the 34-year-old Salyers' twins, it was their first time.

"When we got there it turned out better than we ever expected," Josh Salyers told ABC News, referring to his recent engagement.

Brittany Deane recalled that she and her sister spotted the Salyers twins at one of the festival's welcoming events.

"We were sitting on the bleachers and I saw just these two amazingly handsome young men that looked to be about our age," she recalled to ABC News, "and they were walking across the gym floor below."

Her sister Briana Deane recalls that her sister grabbed her by the wrist, "which we always do when we get excited about something," she said. And after a few moments, she too had spotted the brothers.

"They were stunning," Briana Deane said of her now-fiance and his twin brother.

Sadly, the twin siblings didn't cross paths until the last day of the festival for it's closing night party. "They were there at the end of the hall," Briana Deane said. "They smiled at us and we all started talking."

The Salyers twins sent the Deane twins a message via Facebook saying they couldn't wait to bump into them next year at the festival. But instead, the sisters asked, "Why wait?" The brothers then made a road trip out of it -- driving from their previous home in Clinton, Tennessee to visit the sisters in Virginia. After an amazing trip, the brothers said they knew immediately they'd propose one day.

"You know when you know," Jeremy Salyers said. "We’ve always known our whole life if we were going to be married that it was going to be with twins."

The brothers, who now live in Hagerstown, Maryland, planned a proposal at the same location as their first date -- Twin Lakes State Park in Virginia. They told the sisters the wedding venue on-site wanted to feature the four in a commercial, so they all arrived in matching blue gowns and matching blue ties.

What the Deane sisters didn't expect was for the Salyers brothers to drop down on one knee at the same time. It made it even more special for all of the pairs.

"We have done so much in life together. We’ve gone through ... having twin loves of our lives and to accept their marriage proposal at the same time made it that much more special," Brittany Deane said.

Josh Salyers added, "We’ve always felt blessed to have each other and now we have two other twins who are just like us...but they also add their own contributions that we couldn’t have. Together we can accomplish anything."

The couples now plan to have a double wedding this August at the Twins Days Festival in Ohio. And yes, if you're wondering, the brides will be in identical wedding dresses.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Feb172018

Baby abductors, like Gloria Williams, often fit a similar profile

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After a South Carolina woman stood in court this week and pleaded guilty to abducting an infant from a hospital nearly two decades ago and raising the girl as her own daughter, many were left asking this: Who would steal a baby? And why?

Gloria Williams admitted she acted alone in 1998 when she walked into a Florida hospital dressed as a nurse and walked out with the newborn, whose name was Kamiyah Mobley. Williams raised Mobley for 18 years as her own daughter in South Carolina, renaming her Alexis Kelli Manigo.

It turns out that dressing as a nurse to make it easier to navigate around hospital nurseries undetected is a common practice among women who have stolen babies from hospitals, John Rabun, the director of infant abduction response at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), told ABC News.

Williams’ crime was first discovered when Mobley told a friend she had been abducted as a baby. That tip was sent anonymously to Rabun’s center in 2016.

In 2016, in the weeks after Mobley’s whereabouts were first discovered, Rabun traveled to the hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, now known as UF Health, where Mobley was born. Nurses there recounted to him their memory of the abduction, including the fact that Williams was nearly caught with Mobley before she was able to escape the hospital successfully.

"As she was leaving the mom’s room with [Mobley] in her arms, two other nurses were rushing down the hall with another mother who was in labor," Rabun said. "They saw Williams, dressed as a nurse, carrying Mobley in her arms -- which was against hospital procedure -- and told her she couldn’t arm-carry the baby. So she went back into the mom’s room and talked to her for a while, waits for the coast to clear in the hallway. Then she takes the baby out."

"That’s how good of con women these women are," Rabun added.

The NCMEC has confirmed 325 cases of infant abduction -- nearly all are female abductors -- over the past five decades. In analyzing those abductions, they’ve discovered that not only do many abductors use similar tactics to steal babies -- like dressing as a nurse, as Williams did -- but also nearly all abductors fit a similar profile.

What should you look for if you fear your loved one might be thinking of stealing a baby?

Many women who steal babies do so in a desperate attempt to keep a boyfriend or husband they fear may leave them if they don’t have a child to bind them together, analysis of past abduction cases has found. They are of child-bearing age and may already have children at home, according to the NCMEC. They may pretend to be pregnant, they may have recently lost a baby due to miscarriage, or they may suffer from a medical condition that prevents them from becoming pregnant themselves, the NCMEC has found.

They may also visit hospital nurseries while they’re planning the abduction to ask questions about procedures and case the layout of the maternity floor. They might become familiar with hospital staff and may even be friendly to the victim’s parents, as Gloria Williams was, Rabun said.

"She’s armed with enough knowledge that when she goes into the hospital, she can walk the walk and talk the talk," Rabun said.

What can hospitals do to prevent this?

Hospitals are aware of this threat and have taken an aggressive, layered approach to safeguard their maternity wards against it in the years since Mobley was abducted, according to Bonnie Michelman, executive director of police, security and outside services at Massachusetts General Hospital and former president of the International Association for Healthcare Safety and Security.

Michelman estimates 80 percent of hospitals in the U.S. now use both electronic tagging for babies and an ID banding system for parents. The electronic tagging system sends an alert if a baby is moved out of the maternity ward, while the ID bands verify parents’ identities. Hospital employees also wear special identification that makes it easy for parents to identify them as someone authorized to hold or transport their baby.

Hospitals have also changed the way they transport babies, requiring them to be moved in bassinets rather than carried in the arms of a nurse. That makes it more difficult for a would-be abductor to carry a baby out of a maternity ward, Michelman said.

At many hospitals, babies are now kept in their mother’s room instead of a nursery, she added.

Hospitals now hold “Code Pink” drills to practice for an abduction attempt, and parents are often instructed on how to keep their babies safe at the hospital in their pre-birthing classes, Michelman said.

"Parents don’t need to be alarmed about the possibility of an abduction," Michelman said. “Hospitals take this very seriously, and the best thing parents can do is ask good questions before the birth about what systems and processes are in place to keep their infant safe."

She also warned parents to think twice about what they’re sharing about the birth of their baby on social media.

"Don’t post where you live. I wouldn’t even post a picture of my child. No details of my personal situation," Michelman said.

"What happened in Jacksonville could happen anywhere in the country," said Rabun, referring to the Williams case. "But it’s a lot harder these days."

One hospital on alert

Those procedures are something one hospital in Ohio knows well. The Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital warned the staff of its maternity ward that the wife of a Cleveland police officer who is already under investigation for lying about having cancer while pregnant may try to steal a baby from there.

A clinic spokeswoman told ABC News in a statement, "We have taken extra measures to ensure patients are safe and secure at Fairview Hospital. We take this matter seriously and want to reassure our patients that their safety is our top priority."

Whatever their other sins, women who steal babies often take care of the child as if it were their own, showering them with love and affection, according to Rabun.

"I understand what she did was wrong, but just don't lock her up and throw away the key," Mobley said of Williams on Good Morning America in January. "I still think of her as Mom. She will always be Mom."

Williams faces up to 22 years in prison when she is sentenced in May.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Feb162018

Here's why performance anxiety before an Olympic event may not be a bad thing

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(PYEONGCHANG, South Korea) -- Just moments before Mikaela Shiffrin, the world’s top-ranked women’s skier, clipped into her bindings on Friday for the first run in her attempt to defend her Olympic gold medal in the slalom, she vomited.

It was a dramatic physical reaction to the nerves that plague athletes at all levels of competition, but not so rare for Shiffrin. She has been open about the battle she is waging against those nerves with the help of sports psychologists.

In a TV interview between races on Friday, Shiffrin suggested she might have caught a virus, but later acknowledged it was “just nerves again.”

Sports psychologists say extreme performance anxiety like Shiffrin’s is more common than many people think among elite athletes.

What is performance anxiety?

“Performance anxiety is when the mind and the body says, ‘OK, it’s here, whatever we’ve done to prepare, there’s nothing else we can do now aside from try to be successful,” Dr. Neal Bowes, a former Premier League soccer player and sports psychologist who has prepared Olympians for the games, told ABC News. “And it’s more common than you think.”

Amy Baltzell, who competed in the 1992 Barcelona Games as a rower and is now the president of the Association of Applied Sports Psychology (AASP), agrees. “Most athletes feel performance anxiety and as you get better and the results get more uncertain, that anxiety goes up,” Baltzell said.

Shiffrin makes her nerves work for her

What’s more uncommon is becoming physically ill as Shiffrin does, but from observing her perform and also talk about her struggles with nerves, Bowes -- who has never treated Shiffrin -- believes she uses it as a tool that tells her she is ready to compete.

“She’s found a way to believe that getting ill is OK and fairly normal for her,” Bowes said. So when she gets sick, Bowes believes Shiffrin is able to tell herself, “This is normal for me, it’s happened, which means I can now go and ski well.”

“She seems to be able to quickly process the fact that she’s gotten ill, accept as a sign she’s ready to perform and go out and compete,” he added.

What can athletes do to control their nerves?

Sports psychologists have different approaches for how they approach such anxiety among athletes, but all have the same goal.

“You want the butterflies to fly, but we work to get them in formation and have them work for you, not against you,” said Kristen Dieffenbach, an executive board member with AASP and psychologist who has treated a wide range of athletes across disciplines and ages.

Baltzell teaches athletes how to tolerate their anxiety and shift their attention back to the task at hand through mindfulness.

“I have my athletes visualize themselves performing the part of their performance they most need to prepare for and feel the positive emotions that go with executing that part well,” Baltzell said. “It can be quite helpful for athletes struggling with anxiety.”

Dieffenbach focuses on “controlling the controllables” -- helping athletes figure out their optimal pattern for warming up and preparing for a day of competition.

Bowes recommends visualization and breathing exercises and tells athletes who struggle with nerves to be selective with what they eat.

Another chance at gold

After becoming ill, Shiffrin placed off the podium in fourth place Friday in the slalom. She said she was “disappointed,” adding “it just wasn’t there today to ski the aggressive way I need to be worthy of a medal.”

Vomiting before the race may not have been the main cause for her finish, though. Shiffrin said, “It’s hard to put the blame on any one thing. There’s a lot of things that come together to make it.”

Despite her struggles with nerves, Shiffrin already has that gold medal in the giant slalom in these games and will have another chance to snag more hardware next week in the downhill.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Feb162018

Once bullied, 11-year-old girl now inspires girls to love the skin they're in 

Nakia Bowling(NEW YORK) -- Meet the 11-year-old philanthropist and entrepreneur who is collecting and donating dolls of color to little girls in need, telling ABC News that she wanted to "let little brown girls know that their image is beautiful."

Zoe Terry, 11, and her mother, Nakia Bowling, launched the nonprofit "Zoe's Dolls" in 2011 when Zoe was just 5 years old. The group gives out dolls of color to young girls whose families may not otherwise be able to afford them.

"I started Zoe’s Dolls when I was 5 years old because at that time, I was bullied because the color of my skin and because my hair was so puffy," Zoe told ABC News.

"It really made me feel really bad," she added of the bullying. "It made me feel like I couldn’t do anything."

Bowling, Zoe's mother, told ABC News that she tried to turn the bullying Zoe experienced into a teachable moment and encouraged her to be confident in her own skin.

"When she was bullied, she said, 'I’m not going to let this get me down. I’m going to do something positive about it,'" Bowling said. "She doesn’t let her situation determine her outcome, she determines her outcome."

Zoe then decided to do something to help make sure no other little girls ever felt the same way she did.

"I really wanted to find a way where I can let little brown girls know that their image is beautiful no matter what anyone else says," Zoe said. "And I thought, 'Dolls in their image would be a great way to show them that.'"

"I think its important that everyone gets a doll that looks like them," Zoe added.

Bowling told ABC News that Zoe will "be the first to tell you it’s not about me, it just has my name on it."

Now a sixth-grader at the same school where she was initially bullied, Zoe is thriving.

“Me and my girl our now friends and she donates to Zoe’s Dolls every year. I think how we came to that was that my school and my mom really helped me and the girl understand that our differences are what make us special and we should celebrate our differences,” Zoe said Friday on “GMA.”

Her work has sparked an important conversation at her school.

"Not only does she spread a message of diversity and inclusion," Karen Davis, a teacher at Zoe's school said. "She really does feel that we are all beautiful."

Zoe told ABC News that she wants "every little brown girl" to "know that nothing is impossible."

"The word itself says I’m possible," she added.

Zoe has already helped collect and distribute 20,000 dolls. In addition, she is creating her own line of "Simply Zoe" dolls, and she said her goal is that for every one sold, one will be given away to a family in need.

Debbie Sterling, the founder and CEO of the toy company GoldieBlox, surprised Zoe on "Good Morning America" on Friday with the news that she was going to help Zoe launch her "Zoe's Dolls" line by donating 5,000 GoldieBlox dolls so that Zoe can spend her time focusing on launching her own line rather than collecting donations.

"I wouldn't have as much success today if I didn't have mentors along the way, so today I would like to sign up to be your mentor," Sterling told Zoe on Friday.

In addition, Sterling announced that she would mentor Zoe as she worked to launch her doll line, and pledged that for every doll purchased in February on GoldieBlox's website, the company will donate another doll to Zoe.

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