As a member of both the Dawson County High School Spirit and competitive cheer teams, senior Chloe Pressley understands the importance of a good attitude. Though she doesn’t say much, she radiates a subtle confidence that comes from having faced adversity that most people her age don’t have to confront.
Pressley’s true passion is competitive gymnastics. She took third place all around and second on balance beam in the 2016 Amateur Athletic Union Gymnastics National Championships, and was well on her way to becoming a collegiate level gymnast and realizing her dream of competing for the University of Georgia when she began to suffer with pain and numbness in her left arm and shoulder.
“It was so bad that I couldn’t sleep at night,” she said.
The issue persisted throughout her sophomore year, which is the year that collegiate teams are selecting their future members and offering scholarships. It is the most important year of a young gymnast’s career and Pressley’s condition was interfering with her ability to compete.
“At one point I was trying to tumble using only one arm,” she said. “It was weird.”
By the end of that season Pressley knew that her dream of collegiate gymnastics was over, but she still didn’t have a diagnosis confirming what was wrong with her arm and shoulder.
Determined not to be held back, Pressley tried out (and made the cut) for both the competitive cheer squad at DCHS and the track team, where she qualified for regionals in her first season as a runner.
In December of 2017, Pressley was finally diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which compresses the nerves in her lower neck and armpit. This past May she underwent surgery to correct the condition.
Throughout the entire ordeal Pressley never lost sight of her academics, maintaining a 4.0 GPA while taking a mix of standard and AP classes.
She has remained involved with the gymnastics community, and when she is not studying, practicing or competing, she volunteers her time at her mother’s gymnasium passing her love of the sport to the next generation of girls.