Eating Disorders in Sport: A Treatment Playbook for Providers
The Implications of Trauma in the Athlete with an Eating Disorder
Riley Nickols, PhD, CEDS-S
Founder – Mind Body Endurance,
Counseling & Sport Psychologist
Riley Nickols, PhD, CEDS-S is a counseling and sport psychologist who specializes in working with athletes to address mental health and performance concerns.
Dr. Nickols obtained an MS in Sport Psychology from Ithaca College in addition to an MS in Counseling Psychology and a PhD in Counseling Psychology from Fordham University. He regularly speaks to athletes, coaches, and sports medicine personnel about disordered eating and unbalanced exercise in sport. Additionally, Dr. Nickols consults with eating disorder professionals on best practices for integrating exercise during eating disorder treatment and is sensitive to the unique demands of eating disorder recovery in relation to training and competing in sport.
Currently, Dr. Nickols is on EDCare’s Scientific Advisory Board and is the Senior Program Advisor for Athlete EDGE at EDCare in Denver, CO where specialized intensive eating disorder treatment is provided for athletes. He was previously the Director of the Victory Program, the nation’s first residential eating disorder treatment facility for athletes, from 2013-2021 at McCallum Place in St. Louis, Missouri.
Dr. Nickols is listed in the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee Mental Health Registry (2020-2022). He is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (CEDS) and Supervisor (CEDS-S) through the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP) and holds a certificate in the Integrated Treatment of Eating Disorders from the Contemporary Psychotherapy’s Center for the Study of Anorexia & Bulimia (CSAB) in New York, NY. He currently serves on the Clinical Advisory Council for the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).
Dr. Nickols is currently on the steering committee for the proposed Division of Eating Disorders and Body Image as part of the American Psychological Association (APA) and was on the steering committee for Safe Exercise at Every Stage’s (SEES) Athlete Guidelines.
Dr. Nickols is a member of the Big Sky Sport Psychology Group, Collegiate Clinical/Counseling Sport Psychology Association (CCSPA), American Psychological Association’s Division 47 (Exercise & Sport Psychology), Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP), and the AASP Eating Disorders Special Interest Group.
Dr. Nickols is a licensed psychologist in California, Indiana, Colorado, and Missouri. Additionally, he is an approved, participating PSYPACT psychologist and can provide telehealth in the participating PSYPACT states.
In addition to competing in endurance sports for over 20 years, Dr. Nickols is a running coach and a USA Triathlon coach.
His proudest accomplishment is being married to his best friend and raising three adorable kids.
Rebecca “Becca” McConville,
MS, RD, LD, CSSD, CEDRD-S
Director of Performance Nutrition – Mind Body Endurance
Being a former collegiate athlete now youth coach and Mom to an active daughter, my career’s mission is to create a safer place in sport to see athletes thrive. This means aligning with like-minded , value-driven professionals. As the director of Performance Nutrition at MBE Becca creates a place to challenge the status quo and have ongoing peer consultation to stay evidence-informed & connected to the clients.
In addition to private practice, she has served as a consultant to the University of Missouri Kansas City Athletics, Kansas City Ballet, local colleges and previously worked with the Kansas City Chiefs. Becca and Riley have developed and presented over the US The Eating Disorder in Sport Workshop for athlete providers.
Becca is also the author of Finding your Sweet Spot- How to Avoid RED-S (Relative Energy Deficit in Sport) by Optimizing Your Energy Balance and RED-Solution mentorship program for clinicians.. She is a co-host of a podcast called PHIT for a Queen devoted to female athletes. Spring 2022 will release her workbook on transitioning out of sport at LAST with Dr. Mel Streno.
Special Guest Presenters
Hear from leaders in the field of treating eating disorders in the context of sport.
Cindy Miller Aron, LCSW, CGP, FAGPA
Senior Director of Clinical Services Ascend Consultation in Healthcare, Chicago, Illinois
Cindy Miller Aron, LCSW, CGP, FAGPA, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Adjunct Faculty Samaritan Health Services Department of Psychiatry, Corvallis, OR.
Cindy specializes in the field of performance, athletics and the mental health interface. She is a content and interventional expert on trauma in sport, particularly focusing on the neurobiological unpinning of somatic and performance complaints. Cindy is a national and international advocate for the provision of mental health services sport.
She is a licensed provider for the USOPC Sports Psychology Mental Health Registry, the NBPA and NFLPA Mental Health Registries. Cindy is a co-founder of the Alliance for Social Workers in Sport, is a fellow in the American Group Psychotherapy Association and current co-chair of the annual meeting. Cindy is a co-coordinator of AASP Eating disorders special interest group. She is Outreach co-chair for the International Society for Sports Psychiatry. Cindy is a strong proponent of multi disciplinary care in sport.In 2013, Cindy was appointed to the NCAA Inaugural Mental Health Task Force, in 2016 to the NCAA Sexual Violence and Prevention Summit, and The NCAA Governors’ Commission to Combat Sexual Violence, and in 2018 NCAA Sexual Violence Prevention Think Tank.
In 2019 she was appointed to the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Task Force on Sexual Violence in Sport. She has been a consultant to the US Center for Safe Sport. In 2018 Cindy was appointed to the International Olympic Committee Consensus Group on Mental Health in Elite Athletes as a content expert and Faculty for the International Olympic Committee Diplomate Program.
Cindy publishes numerous articles/ chapters on the interface of mental health and athletics.
Founder of Atalanta NYC, Professional Runner
After sharing her story with the world in a 2019 NY Times Op-Ed, Mary has dedicated her career to driving change in sport, with an emphasis on athlete well-being and gender equity. She works part-time at New York Road Runners, is the founder of Atalanta NYC, a nonprofit that employs professional female runners to serve as mentors for young girls, and serves on the board of The Army of Survivors, a nonprofit that brings awareness, accountability, and transparency to sexual violence against athletes at all levels. Mary also had a record-breaking professional running career that included becoming the 2014 World Junior Champion in the 3000m and a 2013 World Championships finalist in the 1500m.
Coach Houston Franks
Head Cross Country Coach & Assistant Track and Field Coach (Middle Distance and Distance) at LSU
LSU’s distance program has flourished in the past four seasons under Houston Frank’s direction since joining as the assistant coach for LSU track and field’s mid-distance and distance squads in addition to head coaching duties for the cross country team in the summer of 2019. Franks will be heading into his fifth year coaching for the Tigers during the 2023-24 season.
Franks coached the 800-meter phenom in Michaela Rose to just the third NCAA 800m title in program history. Rose became the only women to ever run sub-two minutes three times in their collegiate career, needing only her sophomore season (2023) to reach this accomplishment. Her third and final sub-two-minute time at the NCAA Outdoor Championships of 1:59.83 was also her fourth Mike A. Myers Stadium (Texas) record of the season. Earlier in the season Rose ran the second-fastest 800m time in collegiate history and the LSU program record of 1:59.08, only behind the 2021 Bowerman winner and Olympic-gold medalist Athing Mu (1:57.03). Her other sub-two-minute time of 1:59.73 came at the SEC Outdoor Championships where she won her second SEC title of the year. Rose’s 2023 outdoor season included six of the eight fastest times in the nation for the 800m.
Rose’s historic season led her to being named a semifinalist for The Bowerman, LSU’s first distance member reach the SF stage. Rose led the Tigers in points with 10 total out of the team’s 26 at the NCAA Outdoor Championship. The Virginia native also ran the second fastest 1500-meter time in LSU history with 4:11.98 on the same weekend she ran 1:59.08 in the 800. The sophomore closed out her outdoor season with a sixth-place finish in the USATF Championship final with a time of 2:01.47 in the 800.
Indoors, Rose was on record setting pace every weekend also. She set the indoor program record and fourth-fastest indoor 800m time in collegiate history of 2:00.18 at the Boston University – David Hemery Valentine Invite. She took third at the indoor NCAA’s with a time of 2:00.85 in the 800, which was just her first individual appearance at an NCAA Championship meet.
Michaela Rose closed out a signature season as the LSWA Women’s Runner of the Year and many other accolades such as two SEC titles, two First Team All-SEC nods, two First Team All-American nods, and two weekly SEC honors.
Franks had 14 athletes during the 2023 track season that registered a total of 23 LSU top-10 marks over the course of the season including school records from Michaela Rose, Davis Bove, Alex Selles, Lorena Rangel-Batres, and both of the men’s and women’s DMR teams.
The 2021 cross country season was another tremendously successful season for the women as the Tigers placed fourth at the NCAA South Central Regionals for the best finish in program history at the meet. The Tigers were led by all-region honorees Katy-Ann McDonald and Lorena Rangel on the women’s side, and Davis Bove picked up all-region honors on the men’s side. McDonald finished sixth at the South Central regional meet to earn herself a bid to the 2021 NCAA Championships. McDonald’s sixth place finish at the regional meet matched the best in program history, and she became only the second women’s runner from LSU to qualify for the NCAA Championships in cross country.
Franks had six athletes during the 2021 track season that registered a total of 11 LSU top-10 marks over the course of the season including school records from Davis Bove in the mile and Alicia Stamey in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. Bove clocked a time of 3:57.49 at the Music City Challenge in February to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships, and the 3,000 meter steeplechase duo of Alicia Stamey (10:18.28) and Sara Funderburk (10:19.15) clocked the first and third fastest times in program history at the LSU Invitational.
Bove also registered LSU top 10 times in the indoor 3,000 meter run (8:00.34) and outdoor 1,500 meter run (3:44.18), and Stamey had another LSU top 10 mark in the indoor 3,000 meters (9:48.41). Lorena Rangel’s personal best of 4:19.98 in the 1,500 meters was the fourth fastest in program history, and Katy-Ann McDonald clocked a best of 2:01.67 in an LSU uniform that was the fifth fastest in LSU history. Eric Coston (8:02.15/3,000m), Shelby Spoor (9:47.53/3,000m & 17:19.99/5,000) were the other two athletes that clocked all-time marks as well.
The women’s cross country team had its most successful season in a long time in 2020 that concluded with a fifth-place finish at the SEC Championships. The SEC meet was hosted at the University Club in Baton Rouge and the Tigers came away with their best placing at the conference meet since 1999. Katy-Ann McDonald was named to the All-SEC Second Team and Shelby Spoor was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team. McDonald became the first runner to achieve that feat since 2012, and Spoor is the first freshman in program history to earn all-freshman honors on the women’s side.
The women also won the 5k open race at the Florida State Invitational on October 2 with a team score of 27, and they finished second at the Arturo Barrios Invitational ahead of four other Power 5 programs. The men’s squad matched its 2019 finish at the SEC Championships with an eighth-place finish at the 2020 conference meet in Baton Rouge. The men’s squad was led all season by Davis Bove and Eric Coston.
During the 2020 indoor track season, Franks helped Katy-Ann McDonald (800 meters), Julia Palin (3,000 meters) and Davis Bove (800 meters) register top-10 LSU marks. McDonald circled the track four times at the Iowa State Classic in a personal best time of 2:04.59 to claim the ninth-fastest time in LSU history in the event; McDonald captured silver at the SEC Championships in the 800 meter run. Palin ran a PR of 9:46.99 at the Razorback Invitational on February 1 to stake claim to the fifth-fastest time in program history. Alicia Stamey also PR’d in the 3,000 meters with a time of 9:58.49 under Franks for the eighth-fastest readout in the LSU record book.
Bove ran a PR of 4:03.97 in the mile run at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational on February 15 to place 28th overall and clock the seventh-fastest time in LSU history. Two weeks later he became the first LSU male runner to score in the mile run at the SEC Championships since 2010 with a seventh-place showing.
Franks made an immediate impact on LSU’s cross country program in the fall of 2019 as he had three runners – Eric Coston, Davis Bove, and Katy-Ann McDonald – earn all-region honors. The men’s squad registered an eighth place finish at both the SEC meet and regional meet to mark the highest finish in program history since 2007 and 2008, respectively, at each of those meets. Franks was named the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Women’s Coach of the Year for his efforts, and his athletes – Coston (Male Runner of the Year), Bove (Freshman Runner of the Year) and Adele Broussard (Freshman Runner of the Year) – were also honored by the LSWA.
Coston and Bove led the squad all fall long. Coston was LSU’s top finisher at all five meets he competed at and Bove earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors at back-to-back meets in mid-September becoming the first runner in program history to achieve that feat. Jackson Martingayle was named the SEC Men’s Co-Runner of the Week on Sept. 3, 2019 after he ran to a fifth-place showing at the at the McNeese Opener with a 6k time of 18:33.2; he was the first male runner in program history to earn the award. Bove was named to the 2019 SEC All-Freshman team after he registered a 23rd place showing at the conference meet in his debut season.
The women’s squad was led by sophomore Katy-Ann McDonald in 2019. She paced the women at all five meets she competed at and earned all-regional honors to close out the season as she narrowly missed a bid to the NCAA Championships as an individual. Her 14th place showing at the NCAA South Central Regional was the fourth best by a woman in program history. The future for LSU cross country bodes well as the Tigers will return all but one runner from the 2019 season who factored into LSU’s team scores throughout the season.
On the track, Franks has a solid history of coaching distance runners. His latest endeavor included training the 2019 NCAA indoor runner up in the 800 meters, Marco Arop. Arop ran a time of 1:47.00 at the Birmingham CrossPlex in March to earn his silver medal on the national stage; his season best time indoors of 1:45.90 was the second fastest in the NCAA during the indoor season. Outdoors, Arop went sub 1:47 twice, including a season best of 1:45.50 at the Crimson Tide Invitational to claim gold. The 1:45.50 also made him the second fastest NCAA runner outdoors based off time.
Franks trained Rhianwedd Price-Weimer and Marta Freitas to back-to-back NCAA titles in the 1,500 meter run in 2015 and 2016. Price-Weimer won the NCAA title in the 1,500 meters in 2015 as a sophomore with a winning time of 4:09.56. In 2016, Freitas made it two straight titles in the event for Mississippi State with a winning time of 4:09.53. Freitas competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the 1,500 meters for Portugal and she owns the Portuguese national record in the mile with a personal best of 4:22.45.
He was named the 2016 USTFCCCA South Region Coach of the Year during the cross country season for leading the Bulldogs’ women’s team to the NCAA South Region crown before registering the best finish in program history at the NCAA Championships (15th place). That 2016 squad featured a Mississippi State record of five All-Region honorees, each whom finished in the top 25 of the regional meet, and the Bulldogs were the top finishing SEC team in the nation that year.
Prior to Starkville, Franks spent five years at Southwest Missouri State University (1999-2004). He led his women’s teams to three Missouri Valley Conference titles, and during his last three years, the Bears’ women’s squad finished in the top four at the NCAA Midwest Regionals each year. He was a three-time MVC Coach of the Year in women’s cross country.
Franks competed collegiately for Mississippi State from 1994-98 and he earned his undergraduate degree in the spring of 1998 in education; a year later, he received his master’s in sports administration from Mississippi State as well. He is joined in Baton Rouge by his wife, Meggan, and their two children – Madison and Patrick.
Tammy Beasley, MS, RDN, CEDS-C
Tammy Beasley Nutrition, LLC
As a nationally recognized nutrition consultant, entrepreneur, and speaker, Tammy Beasley continues to devote her experience and passion to the field of behavioral health and eating disorders. Over her 30+ year career, Tammy has collaborated with multi-disciplinary clinical and executive leadership teams to develop innovative nutrition programs to bring sustainable hope and healing to clients. She is the first RDN certified as an eating disorder specialist (CEDS) with iaedp in 1993 and continued her advocacy for RDNs’ role on the eating disorder treatment team as the first RDN to join the iaedp Certification Committee in 2008 and first RDN to serve as Certification Director from 2013-2017. During her service, CDR approved the CEDS certification for registered dietitians in June 2015, a landmark decision that validated the role of nutrition in eating disorder treatment and set the stage for Tammy to participate as one of the co-authors of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Standards of Practice (SOP/SOPP) for dietitians in eating disorders published in November 2020.
Jason Nagata, MD, MSc
Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco
Jason Nagata, MD, MSc, is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco specializing in adolescent and young adult eating disorders. He researches eating disorders, muscle dysmorphia, and muscle-enhancing behaviors in boys and men. He edited the book Eating Disorders in Boys and Men and is Senior Editor of the Journal of Eating Disorders. He has published over 300 articles in academic journals and his research has been covered by The New York Times, CNN, NPR, and NBC News. He is the recipient of the American Academy of Pediatrics Emerging Leader in Adolescent Health Award and the International Association for Adolescent Health Young Professionals Prize.
Riley Nickols, PhD, CEDS-S and Becca McConville MS, RD, LDN, CSSD, CEDRD-S are excited to facilitate a full day of learning to advance the understanding and effectiveness of providers to assess and treat athletes with eating disorders.
The theme for the 2024 Eating Disorders in Sport: A Treatment Playbook for Providers is The Implications of Trauma in the Athlete with an Eating Disorder. Renowned experts, Cindy Miller Aron, LCSW, CGP, FAGPA , Mary Cain, Coach Houston Franks, Tammy Beasley, MS, RDN, CEDS-C, and Jason Nagata, MD, MSC will share valuable knowledge, recommendations, and lived experiences to enhance the treatment of athletes.
This workshop will inform, empower, and equip sport personnel and eating disorder providers with evidence-based best practices to allow staff and organizations to treat athletes with confidence and effectiveness.
Participants will learn how to optimally support athletes navigating eating disorder treatment by using best practices while leveraging available resources, both in-house and external providers, while being sensitive to the complex and multifaceted nature of an eating disorder.
This training will provide education, training, and practical interventions specific to: medical and psychological concerns, inherent risks and dangers of mismanaging an eating disorder case, establishment of weight goals/policies, navigating crucial conversations with athlete and sport personnel, modifying and reintegrating training during treatment, and challenges in collaborative care within a multidisciplinary treatment team.
Case study demonstrations will include relevant assessment tools and return to sport guidelines. Recommendations will be provided for how athletic departments can provide sufficient training and supervision so that staff can be equipped to comprehensively assess and treat eating disorders. Suggestions will be given to providers in private practice in how to optimally leverage available trainings, supervision, and support when collaborating in the care of an athlete.
Attendees will also learn how to comprehensively evaluate existing eating disorder protocols/procedures within an athletic department or sport governing body while identifying qualified personnel to assess and treat athletes who exhibit disordered eating and eating disorder behaviors.
1. Describe common challenges that athletes with eating disorders often experience during treatment and how to respond to these challenges as a provider in an attuned, compassionate, and timely manner.
2. Understand how trauma can impact the development and sustainment of an eating disorder.
3. Recognize specific ways that athlete providers can use a trauma-informed approach in their assessment, treatment, and care of an athlete with a history of trauma.
4. Identify medical, clinical, objective, and subjective factors that warrant modifications in an athlete’s training and return to play considerations during/after treatment.
Please email Riley (Riley.Nickols@mindbodyendurance.com) and Becca (Becca@mindbodyendurance.com) for questions about this event.
CEs will be available for psychologists, mental health providers, registered dietitians, and athletic trainers. A Certificate of Attendance for six (6) clock hours will be issued to all qualified participants who attend this virtual event. Full attendance is required to receive CE credits. No partial credit will be awarded. CE credit is NOT available for watching any recordings, full attendance of the virtual session must be attended LIVE to earn credit. Participants are responsible for contacting their respective state and discipline licensing boards to confirm acceptance of CE credits.
Mental Health Providers – EDCare has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No.7113. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. EDCare is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
EDCare is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. EDCare maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
Registered Dietitians – This virtual workshop has been approved by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) for 6 CEUs.
Athletic Trainers – NATABOC Continuing Education Units: 6.0. This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with NATABOC Approved Provider Program standards. NATABOC Approved Provider #P2647.
Athlete EDGE™ at EDCare provides intensive, compassionate eating disorder treatment from professionals who understand the world of sport and the challenges athletes face. Dr. Riley Nickols is a member of EDCare’s Scientific Advisory Board and is the Program Advisor for Athlete EDGE™ at EDCare.
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