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Penn State kicker battling eating disorder not on team

07/26/2017, 12:02am EDT
By BLADE NEWS SERVICES

Julius says he is in ‘full recovery’ after going public


Joey Julius, a Penn State kicker who went public last fall with his battle with an eating disorder, is no longer on the team. ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHICAGO — Joey Julius, the Penn State kicker who went public last fall with his battle with an eating disorder, is no longer on the Nittany Lions’ roster.

Julius, who became a social media sensation for his big hits, said he had missed spring football while undergoing treatment, as he did last spring and summer, for a binge-eating disorder at a St. Louis facility.

“Just as an update I am doing well and the treatment is helping,” he wrote in May on Facebook. “There is light at the end of the tunnel. It is just a very long tunnel.”

On Monday, after news came out that he was no longer on the team, he tweeted his thanks “for the kind messages. Just so you don’t worry, I am in full recovery and have been discharged from treatment for a while.”

Listed as 5 feet, 10 inches and 258 pounds, Julius told ABC News’ Paula Faris last October shortly after opening up about his disorder that “I was always calling myself fat, disgusting, lazy, ugly. My name is Joey Julius, and I have an eating disorder.”

Increasing weight, depression, and anxiety caused him to seek treatment at McCallum Place, which has facilities in St. Louis and Kansas City.

“My team physicians started to notice not only a change in my overall happiness but also my performance as a normal human being,” Julius wrote on Facebook at the time.

“Throughout this whole process I learned a lot about myself. I learned that for the last 11 years of my life I have suffered through a disorder known as binge eating disorder. Although I showed signs of [bulimia] through stints of purging from extreme anxiety placed on myself. I am certain that binge eating disorder is my true diagnosis thru extensive care this summer for about three months of treatment.”

Julius said he would eat salads with teammates, then binge privately until he became ill.

“I would have to lay down to the point where I was so sick I couldn’t move and [I would] just, you know, lay there,” he said. “And there were some times I would cry.”

As he became widely known, his awareness grew of how badly his story could have turned out.

“After, I think, I got the treatment, that’s when I was like, ‘You know what? If I would have continued down this path, you know, I might not be here right now,’ ” he said, “and that’s why I’m just blessed.”

But this May, he wrote that he had been “struggling over the last couple months with my eating disorder.”

Julius averaged 62.1 yards per attempt with 45 touchbacks as the team’s primary kickoff specialist last season.

In 2015, he hit 10 of 12 field goal attempts and converted 20 of 24 extra-point attempts.

ILLINOIS TARGETS ABUSE ISSUES: Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman says there are plans to bar athletes with a history of sexual or domestic abuse from participating in sports.

The proposed plan could go into effect for the coming academic year and would make Illinois the second Big Ten school, after Indiana, to raise the off-field standards for athletes in the last four months.

Whitman told the Chicago Tribune that while the school had few reservations about going forward with the new policy, officials wanted a review or appeals process in place for unique cases.

“That’s one of the primary reservations,” he said. “I do believe in second chances.”

Big Ten officials decided that member schools were in better position to judge such cases on an individual basis.

In April, Indiana athletic director Fred Glass said the school would not accept “any prospective student-athlete — whether a transfer student, incoming freshman or other status — who has been convicted of or pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony involving sexual violence.”

It defined sexual violence as “dating violence, domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, or sexual violence as defined by the Indiana University policy on sexual misconduct.”

The Illinois policy is likely to include similar wording.

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