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Athlete: Michelle Akers This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   When the U.S. Women's Soccer Team won the World Cup lastyear, the word "hero" took on a new meaning. Together these womenbattled the world's best soccer players from country after country, but one hadanother battle as well. Michelle Akers has been fighting chronic fatigue andimmune dysfunction syndrome since 1991. With determination and incrediblestrength, she successfully continued her soccer career through many changes.

In 1991, Akers started to feel lethargic, but didn't think much about itbecause of her busy schedule. But when simple tasks such as riding the exercisebike for five minutes became difficult, she went to the doctor. She was diagnosedwhile preparing for the 1996 Olympics. To keep going, a change was in order,starting with diet. She cut down on caffeine and drank more water, tried to eat awell-balanced diet, started taking more vitamins and drank lots of carrot juice.These sometimes tedious diet demands helped Akers regain her energy and keeptraining. Since keeping up with the team was not easy, she started smarter,shorter, supervised workouts. Slowly her strength returned.

Through herstruggles with CFIDS, Akers learned that nothing is more valuable than herhealth. She prioritized the things most important to her and poured her energyinto them. She also refused to jeopardize herself to keep her sponsorhappy.

When it was time for the Olympics, Akers was ready to play, buteach game was a trial, draining her emotionally and physically of her strength.The team doctor had to administer IVs after each game, but she managed to play inall of them and become an Olympic gold medalist.

Michelle Akers is a truehero and role model.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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