Carla Overbeck, U.S. National Women's Soccer Team
NAME: Carla Overbeck
TEAM: U.S. National Women's Soccer Team
POSITION: Defense and team captain
INJURY: Graves' disease (hyperthyroidism)
OTHER ATHLETES AFFECTED
Olympic gold medal sprinter Gail Devers
While at the University of North Carolina, Overbeck won four NCAA
championships. She was named to Soccer America's freshman team of the year and
received All-American honors her sophomore, junior, and senior years while at
Overbeck has played 161 times for the national team since her debut in 1988
and is considered one of the world's best defenders. She captained the U.S.
team to the gold medal in the 1996 Olympics, playing every minute of the team's
five matches. That same year, she was named to the U.S. Women's Cup '96
All-Tournament team. Now 31 years old, Overbeck helped lead the U.S. to the
1999 Women's World Cup title.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Graves' disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune system,
for largely unknown reasons, produces antibodies to parts of the body. In
Graves', the antibody acts like a hormone and stimulates the production of
thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland in the front of the
neck becomes larger, and the extra hormones it secretes tend to speed up the
body's metabolism. The patient may have nervousness, excessive sweating,
fatigue, high blood pressure, muscle cramps, fast pulse, weight loss, and
frequent bowel movements. Graves' disease is commonly associated with bulging,
watery eyes. It is far more common in women than in men and tends to happen
between the ages of 20 and 40. In many cases, there is a tendency for this
disease to run in families.
For the last few months, Overbeck has said she hadn't felt well, especially
Symptoms of Graves' disease may be mild or severe, depending on how
overactive the thyroid gland is. The symptoms are caused by the increased
metabolism that occurs in various body organs as a result of the high levels of
the thyroid hormones, known as T4 and T3, present in the blood.