Bowers balances gymnastics, diabetes
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Taylor Bowers was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes in November, and the Kittanning eighth grader has been keeping the disease under control with gymnastics.
Bowers is a patient of Dr. Fida Bacha of the Diabetes Endocrine Clinic at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh. Dr. Bacha believes the discipline and exercise involved with gymnastics has helped Bowers battle the disease.
"She has a regular schedule, with eating and exercising at a certain time," Dr. Bacha said. "All this helps her have optimum blood sugar control.
"Also, exercise makes the body more sensitive to insulin. It makes it work better, so she needs a smaller amount of insulin. She's a good role model for kids with diabetes."
Bowers, 14, isn't just in gymnastics for the exercise, though. She's been a gymnast since age 3, and on Saturday she will compete in the Level 9 Eastern Gymnastics Championship in Dayton, Ohio.
On her way to qualifying for the eastern championship, Bowers took sixth at the Level 9 state finals and 10th at the Level 9 regional championship.
"This year, pretty much the beam has been my favorite. I've been doing really well on it," Bowers said. "My routines have been solid."
Bowers practices at the Butler Gymnastics Club from 4 to 7 :30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. She is the daughter of Kurt and Tish Bowers. Kurt Bowers graduated from Kittanning in 1977, and then played football at Indiana (Pa.) University.
Tish Bowers said her daughter was doing perfect cartwheels at age 2, so she signed her up for a gymnastics class at the Butler Gymnastics Club to see if she'd enjoy it.
"She definitely gets her athleticism from him," said Tish Bowers, referring to her husband. "Gymnastics isn't a sport parents can make you do. You have to love what you do to be that dedicated."
Tish Bowers believes being diagnosed with juvenile diabetes has helped her daughter appreciate gymnastics even more.
"Since being diagnosed, she has realized how important all the exercises are," Tish Bowers said. "It keeps her blood sugars in a reasonable range, more in check than someone who doesn't do an activity, and she knows the importance of the sport and continuing it."
The Bowers' have no family history of diabetes, but juvenile diabetes is not restricted to people with a family history, unlike type two diabetes, according to Dr. Bacha.
"The rates are low, 1 in 500 children are diagnosed," said Dr. Bacha, who treats over 2,000 children. "But, that's still a big number and makes it a chronic disease."
Bowers said her dream is to receive a college gymnastics scholarship. She needs to become a Level 10 gymnast in order to get a Division I scholarship, according to her mother.
Bowers has two younger sisters, Brenna, 12, and Mia, 7. Brenna Bowers is a Level 7 gymnast.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.