Kara Stroup is a former Temple lacrosse player where she was a two-time team captain. She is also a mental health awareness advocate due to her struggles in overcoming an eating disorder that she hid for 7 years during her career as an elite athlete. Today, she is working as a Product Director at Balance Position, which aims to empower student-athletes to achieve and maintain optimal mental wellness so they can perform their best on the field, in the classroom, and in life. Team captains are often tasked with the job of being the glue for their teams and empowering their teammates to achieve levels they never thought possible. Historically captains attempt to fulfill this role by surprising emotion and feelings. Kara is proof that being open, honest and vulnerable actually garners greater respect from your teammates and is evidence that the old way of captaining is actually less effective. Below you will find a list of the talking points we cover throughout the interview:
- The moment when Kara she realized she might have a problem and what triggered it.
- Why the eating disorder began to get in the way of her life on her 18th birthday.
- How easy it was to hide the eating disorder.
- Why overtraining can be a form of a eating disorder because disordered thoughts and behavior dictating your actions.
- What it was like to perform at an elite level while suppressing nutrition.
- The link between depression and eating disorders.
- The fear of telling the truth about her eating disorder.
“It was like skydiving, you just have to jump.”
- Managing the duties of being a team captain and taking care of herself at the same time.
- The most beneficial treatments and the power of journaling.
- Triggers to her disordered thoughts and how she dealt with them.
- Academic struggles in college despite athletic success.
- Kara's Temple Suicide Awareness article published by Temple Athletics and the overwhelm that ensued.
- Kara's role at Balance Position and why the app is beneficial for those who struggle with their mental health, or they just want to keep tabs on it.
- The importance of providing accurate information on how you have been doing since your last visit when working with a psychologist/therapist.
- How Kara was able to get off all her medications.
- Kara's hobbies outside of lacrosse which led to her earning the YRL Unsung Hero Award.
- The mental health benefits of writing.
- Why life without lacrosse was like breaking up with a part of herself.