Nursing Book Club
What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen by Kate Fagan
It seems like there’s something new every day about athletes struggling with mental health issues: football players with early-onset dementia; baseball players walking away from their careers due to depression; figure skaters and gymnasts with eating disorders.
The drive to excel at sports, the pressure of competition and a little taste of celebrity can all push athletes to the brink.
Maddy Holleran, the subject of What Made Maddy Run, lived in my county, so this book caught my interest early on. Holleran’s family was much the same as those around me, pushing their kids to achieve at athletics in the hopes of a college scholarship. In her case, it seemed to pay off. She excelled, caught the eye of scouts and was offered a place on the track and field team at her first-choice college.
During her first semester away from home, though, something went very wrong, leading her to take her own life in January 2014. She was only 19.
Holleran was not happy running track for UPenn, but author Kate Fagan suggests that the girl became trapped in a painful bind. Although Maddy thought that giving up track would solve everything, she seemed to find it hard to abandon a dream she had worked for so many years to achieve.