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A Painful Decision


A Painful Decision
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Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   high interest, readability grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.18

     challenging words:    senior, AJAO, cartilage, diagnosis, heredity, osteoarthritis, outlook, self-pity, ultrasound, privacy, guilty, stress, high, lower, laughing, prescribe
     content words:    Julia Smith*, American Juvenile Arthritis Organization

A Painful Decision
By Colleen Messina

1     Julia Smith* is a high school senior who made a painful choice this year. She loves track, but she had to quit because she has osteoarthritis. The joint disease usually affects people over age 65. It causes the cartilage that covers joints to deteriorate until bone rubs against bone. It makes even simple things much more difficult.
2     Julia was a normal teenager until last year. She ran cross-country in the fall but had a lot of pain in her lower back. She kept running, but the pain got worse. She didn't know that she was facing something rare for her age. She did well in her races. In the spring, she placed third in a 1,600-meter race. Her pain continued. She saw many doctors and finally got her diagnosis. She then made the decision not to run in college.
3     Julia's attitude helped her through this challenge. Her trainer said, "She has a great attitude. She'll do anything asked of her." Julie added heat packs, ultrasound, and ice to her training routine. She swims and uses weights. She now says that prevention of pain is her focus.

Paragraphs 4 to 9:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable

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