Utah Gymnast Retires Over Alleged ‘Verbal & Emotional Abuse’ From Coach

Kara Eaker, a gymnast at the University of Utah, is retiring from the sport and withdrawing from the school after making allegations against the team’s head coach Tom Farden.

Eaker is accusing Farden of “verbal and emotional abuse” and being “completely dismissed” by the university’s athletic department while reporting it.

“I accepted an athletic scholarship to the University of Utah because I truly believed the school was a place where I could contribute to the community, be a strong asset to the gymnastics team, and be free to develop myself and future career,” Eaker wrote in a statement on social media. “For two years, while training with the Utah Gymnastics team, I was a victim of verbal and emotional abuse. As a result, my physical, mental, and emotional health has rapidly declined. ”

Eaker is a two-time gold medalist at the World Championships and was an alternate for the 2020 Olympic team.

“During my recruiting process, I was promised a ‘family’ within this program and a ‘sisterhood’ with my teammates, who would accept me, care for me, and support me. But instead, after I entered as a freshman, I was heartbroken to find the opposite in that I was training in an unhealthy, unsafe, and toxic environment.”

Eaker says that she suffers from “panic attacks, PTSD, and night terrors,” while also revealing that she recently had suicidal thoughts and was diagnosed with depression.

The university recently completed an investigation into Farden and the culture of the women’s gymnastics program, but found that the head coach “did not engage in any severe, pervasive or egregious acts of emotional or verbal abuse of student-athletes.”

Its investigation did find that Farden made degrading comments, but an overwhelming majority of the people they interviewed showed their support for the coach.

Eaker, meanwhile, says the investigation was incomplete and lacks any credibility.

You can read Eaker’s full statement here.

If you or someone you know is dealing with suicidal thoughts, the 988 Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States. The 988 Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the United States.

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