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Local gymnasts one injury away from being Nassar victim

Posted at 7:17 PM, Jan 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-31 22:47:03-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- The impact of Doctor Larry Nassar's conviction as a child molester to over 260 girls, is felt in Southwest Florida. Four girls who train at Tropical Twisters Gymnastics in Cape Coral, attended a summer camp at Karolyi ranch. The same camp Nassar assaulted his victims. 

"That’s something that you can’t take back, like a piece of you is missing. After something like that happens to you," said Zoey, 15, who was introduced to Nassar at the beginning of camp in New Waverly, Texas.  

Zoey says she was never treated by Nassar because she never experienced an injury during camp. But if she had, she says she would have a difficult time coming back to gymnastics and remains shocked at the testimonies she's seen in that last few weeks. 

“He seemed like a really nice person. No one would’ve ever pictured him doing that kind of stuff.” 

Zoey says the camp did not allow cell phones nor parents or coaches to visit. Zoey's coaches here in Cape Coral, explained they believe the isolation created an easy pathway for someone like Nassar to get to the kids. They've taken strict protocol to make sure all of their gymnasts are safe. 

"We follow all protocol. I would say we do more than the average gym, including having cameras," said Lisa Johnson, Tropical Twisters Coach. "We don’t allow coaches to be by themselves, female or male.” 

Zoey says since Nassar's trial, she has become more attentive to her male coaches, even though she considers herself in a safe place. 

“Having a male coach, I’m more aware of what he’s saying now.”

And her coach, is more aware of his actions. 

“[Nassar] has robbed the community of that trust and so we have to work that much harder, especially a male coach to regain and reestablish that trust," said Bryan Marley, a coach at Tropical Twisters. 

Johnson says there's one clear way USA Gymnastics can avoid another Nassar situation from happening: trusting the kids.

“There’s got to be protocol for that. Not just for the ones that we can find, but for the ones that the kids are complaining on. You always believe the child, until you cannot believe the child.” 

The governor of Texas, Gregg Abbott, ordered Texas Rangers to investigate allegations of sexual assault at Karolyi Ranch, Tuesday. This comes in response to Nassar's sex abuse crimes.