Like millions around the world, I also watched the US Olympic trials over the weekend. It was an event that saw history in the making. We saw the newly most decorated gymnast of all time in Simone Biles do her thing and make the team of five, along with the previous gold medal winner, Gabby Douglas who also made the team, albeit with some difficulty. Nevertheless, we saw history in that two African Americans made the team along with a Native American as alternate in the total of seven finalists to go to Rio. Also, like most of you I saw the prior champion Gabby make some uncharacteristic mistakes leading her to actually fall in a couple of instances.
These mistakes were so odd for her that the commentator on the network covering the event stated that she “did not know where that came from”, since this one fall occurred during a non difficult and even easy maneuver for most gymnasts. I had already noticed during Gabby’s pre event mental preparation, just before she does her event, some odd eye movements that no other gymnast seemed to do. I made a point to watch the Sunday competition to see if she repeated the eye movement and sure enough she did it again. I thought maybe she had a “tic” at first but then remembered my professor of neurology in medical school saying that in some lesions of the brain the patient actually looks to the lesion. Gabby had a jerky rightward and upward gaze that never went to the opposite leftward side….then she is falling during moves she normally has no problem with. Nevertheless, I now feel it my obligation to make my observations known publicly so that someone may intervene and have her evaluated for the sake of caution. She may harm herself on the beam or other event, if indeed she does have a brain and or an inner ear or balance problem. If she does have a lesion, medical therapy is warranted and the sooner the better for the sake of long term health outcome.
Anyone reading this then is asked to contact the correct persons to take a look at this situation more closely. She may be normal, but it is always best to err on the side of caution.