Former UNC gymnast recounts her Larry Nassar experience

In 2015, Lindsey Lemke was a freshman at UNC-Chapel Hill and a member of the Tar Heels gymnastic team.

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Lemke had what current UNC gymnastics coach Derek Galvin describes as a strong personality. It was something he noticed several years earlier when he recruited her from her time with the Geddert's Gymnastics in Michigan.

But when Lemke was a student-athlete at Chapel Hill, Galvin noticed a bit of a change.

"There were times when Lindsey was here that she did have some rough days," Galvin said. "And at the time, my assistant coach and I thought 'well, maybe it's homesickness.'"

The freshman then returned home to Holt, Mich., and she transferred to Michigan State University, where she is still enrolled.

Shortly after returning home, Lemke went to visit former USA Gymnastics doctor and Michigan State doctor Larry Nassar.

Lemke said Nassar had a good reputation and she would brag about how often she would see him.

"He was nice enough to let me in the back door when I would go see him at the office and he wouldn't bill my insurance," Lemke said. "I felt so lucky to see him so he could treat me. Or should I say 'treat' me."

Shortly after her return to Holt, things took a turn.

"I saw him and he gave me an acupuncture. And he did it in my pubic area," Lemke said. "And he told me that was a legitimate treatment for my back pain."

Lemke, however, got a second opinion and was told getting treatment in one's pubic area, "doesn't do anything for any body part."

"The pieces of the puzzle kind of fell into place," Galvin said. "And I think the impact of what she went through with Larry Nassar was certainly affecting her, to some extent, while she was here.

"It doesn't surprise me in the least that she had the strength to stand up and make statements publicly. I'm incredibly proud of her and the other women that have stepped forward," Galvin added.

Lemke had the chance to face Nassar in court recently as she read her testimony. "When I got up there (to testify), I really felt like it was me and Larry," Lemke said. "This was the first time in however long, I was able to stand up for myself and show these people that even though you thought you had the power over me, you don't. We, as the 156 women who spoke up, we own these people. And we should for how they treated us. It's like the tables have turned."

Given Lemke's experience and that of others, Galvin said the team's sports psychologist is available for athletes and furthermore, credits the "sisterhood" among the gymnastics team for being another resource for women to feel comfortable.

"It sucks that it had to come down to 156 of us speaking some of the hardest words we'll ever speak for people to listen to us," Lemke told ABC11. "Well, at least now they are. And hopefully, it's making a difference."
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