Para Athlete Cassie Cava opens up on mental health battle
By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 16/05/18 11:08am
Cassie Cava says competing as a Para Athlete has helped her battle personal trauma, but feels she was treated differently within the two sports she competed in.
Three years ago, after years of pain caused by a congenital club foot, Cava took the difficult decision to have it amputated.
That led to the opportunity to compete in Para Athletic sport, where she was recruited by Para triathlon and Para snowboarding.
Cava had been the victim of a sexual assault before becoming an athlete, although she chose not to tell anyone within the two sports.
But, after suffering flashbacks and mental illness, she was hospitalised and diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and finally opened up.
Cava says she was treated very differently by the two different sporting bodies.
"I was treated very differently when I turned round and said I was struggling with mental health and British triathlon saw it as no issue and were completely accepting and understanding of that," she told Sky Sports News' Lia Hervey during Mental Health Awareness Week.
A relief to be officially competing under the ITU flag whilst I transfer to compete for 🇮🇪. Grateful to no longer be part of the @uk_sport funded system & in one that values athletes as individuals regardless of mental health, gender or disability☀️#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek pic.twitter.com/OkOhHxCSSx— Cassie Cava (@onelegdontcare) May 15, 2018
"Coming back into snow sport after coming out of hospital was an incredibly negative experience and I was met with by these walls every step of the way, by barrier after barrier, starting with being removed from the programme and I lost my lost funding whilst I was in hospital."
Cava's experiences competing as a British Para Athlete have subsequently led her to change her allegiance and she will now race for Ireland.
Click on the video above to see the full interview with Cassie Cava.