Q&A With a Scoliosis-Diagnosed Athlete

Anushka Dasgupta

When did you learn you had scoliosis?

I learned I had scoliosis about a year and a half ago during Homecoming week. Me and my mom actually went to a store to dry on dresses for Homecoming and I was trying on a dress, and I looked in the mirror and said, ‘Mom, my rib cage, or like one side of my body, is sticking out.’ If you saw it, my right rib cage was sticking out, so then we went to the doctor. So yeah, it was all in a Macy’s, I think.

What aspects affect you the most?

It’s just mostly, the actual physical part, like you can see one of my ribs sticking out more than the other. But there is general back pain that comes along with it.

Da-Hyun Hong 

Do you/have you worn a brace or are you planning to undergo surgery?

I wore a brace for most of my freshman year and then I kind of, just got sick of it honestly. Since my curve was already pretty bad (50 degrees), it couldn’t help very much. We took the brace off and it was to the point where I need surgery, so I’m getting spinal fusion over this summer.

How has scoliosis impacted your track career?

I don’t think scoliosis has really impacted my track career more so than track has impacted my scoliosis because running and exercise does aggravate the back pain that I have.

Do you experience much pain?

If it comes to the point where it really hurts, I take pain medication but that’s very, very uncommon. Normally, it’s just stretching and sometimes I go to the chiropractor as well. It’s sometimes uncomfortable to sit in chairs for a long period of time but it hasn’t severely impacted school and stuff, except for doctor’s appointments.

Has scoliosis impacted you as a person?

I’m still the person I was but I’ve learned that people have stuff that’s going on that no one knows about really, so I’ve learned to be more considerate of people’s situations, because you’ll never know what going to happen to them or what’s happening to them now. So, just taking that into consideration.

What are some things you found challenging while wearing the brace?

Last year when I was wearing the brace, because it is just a giant piece of plastic around your body for most of the day, it got very uncomfortable and kind of poked (me) in (my) ribs and sides and stuff. That was just uncomfortable and finding clothes to fit over that was always a hassle because they had to be big and loose and not the kind of clothes I used to wear.

Do you think there’s enough awareness for scoliosis?

I think a lot of people know what (scoliosis) is but they don’t know how it affects people necessarily. I feel like if people knew what it is they could do something (inaudible) without being knowledgeable about the topic. That’d be helpful, be considerate about people that do have it.

What would you tell other people that don’t know much about scoliosis?

I’d say to do some research or just ask friends that do have it, because the people that do have it, will talk to you about it, it won’t be an awkward situation. We’d be happy to explain it because we want to make more people knowledgeable about the subject.