The Price She Pays

Confronting the Hidden Mental Health Crisis in Women's Sports—from the Schoolyard to the Stadium

New Release


By Tiffany Brown, PhD

By Katie Steele

With Erin Strout

Formats and Prices




$39.00 CAD

Two experts in mental health and sport lift the veil on the crisis in women’s athletics, offering parents and coaches urgently needed advice and support and showing how female athletes can find joy in whatever sport they choose, at whatever level they compete.

No matter the sport, the message to girls and women is the same: Be aggressive, but not too aggressive. Win at all costs, but be polite while doing it. Get strong, but not too big. Female athletes have long been conditioned to perform under these standards, gracefully and without complaints.
Yet, behind the scenes, female athletes are suffering from disordered eating and substance use; depression and anxiety; emotional and sexual abuse; racism and discrimination; self-harm, and even suicide ideation. When global tennis star Naomi Osaka and gymnastics world champion Simone Biles took breaks from competing to tend to their mental health, many were compelled to ask: What is causing this mental health crisis in women’s sports? In this urgent yet “hopeful roadmap for systemic change.” (Jessica Mendoza, Olympic medalist),  Katie Steele and Dr. Tiffany Brown illuminate where we are going wrong—and how we can correct course.
Through first-hand accounts, research, and reporting, they reveal the deep layers of trauma and mistreatment women experience in their pursuit of excellence in sport. They show parents, coaches, and athletes how to recognize the signs of mistreatment and mental health issues, and reveal how, by focusing on the wellbeing of the whole person—not just the athlete—we can provide women and girls with the support they need to thrive, in whatever sport they choose, at whatever level they compete.


  • The Price She Pays shines a light on the toxic systems and practices in girls’ and women’s sports, and the change we so urgently need in order to pave the way for a future of female superstars who can thrive physically, mentally and emotionally. This masterpiece is a must read for female athletes, as well as their parents, coaches, and anyone who cares about making the world of sports a safer place for women.”
    Deena Kastor, Olympic Medalist, marathon
  • “Essential reading for anyone involved with girls' and women’s sports: parents, coaches, managers, administrators, and athletes themselves. The authors, experienced mental health professionals, were driven to write this book as they treated athlete after athlete struggling with the ramifications of an unhealthy sports experience. Sports can and should be a huge positive for girls and women, but sadly there are still very predictable ways they turn negative. Let's all educate ourselves and then change practices and systems so that the vision of Title IX can be realized.”
    Sarah Lesko, MD, MPH, Executive Director, Bras for Girls
  • “Sports have the power to entertain, to thrill, and to bring people together. For a competitive athlete, the opportunity to go out on the field and deliver this day in and day out is a privilege. Yet this privilege can come at a high cost, particularly for girls and women. In The Price She Pays, Katie Steele and Tiffany Brown offer an unflinchingly honest look at the unique stresses, pressures, and challenges female athletes face at all levels of competition, while also providing a hopeful roadmap for the systemic change that will allow them to (re)discover the joy of sport without sacrificing their mental and physical health.”
    Jessica Mendoza, Olympic gold and silver medalist, first female analyst for MLB on ESPN
  • The Price She Pays is a stark reminder of the steep, and often hidden, costs when we focus solely on the physical aspects of sport and the win-at-all-costs nature of performance, especially for girls and women. Steele and Brown make the compelling case that if we want girls and women to thrive over the long-term—as athletes and as individuals—we can’t ignore mental health. If you coach, teach, or parent girls and young women, you need to read this book. It’s an essential toolkit for navigating the unique challenges female athletes face and for how we can create a better system of sports, one that supports women’s needs and respects their value as whole human beings.” 
    Christine Yu, author of Up to Speed
  • The Price She Pays masterfully combines storytelling and journalism to create an impactful read on the mental health crisis in women’s sports. Sports have the incredible ability to empower girls and women, but The Price She Pays examines the many ways that sports culture and athletic systems often fail to protect female athletes. Steele and Brown use their expertise as mental health professionals to inform, educate, and inspire readers, urging us all to take part in developing healthier sporting for all. This is an important read for any athlete, coach, or parent.”
    Leeann Passaro, The Hidden Opponent
  • “While most of us pay attention to the stories of high-profile coaches found guilty of physical, mental, and sexual abuse of their female athletes, we often overlook how the culture of sport drives so many girls and women into unhealthy behaviors. Female athletes are brought up in a culture that encourages overtraining, eating disorders, and following coaches’ orders no matter what. It’s easy to point out when one coach or team takes it too far, but The Price She Pays reminds us that we have the power to change the culture for all female athletes. It should be on the bookshelf of every parent and coach in sport.” 
    Kara Goucher, two-time Olympian, World Championships silver medalist, and author of The Longest Race
  • “This book should be required reading for all coaches and parents of women in sport. I want to see sports change so that we are not only creating a world where girls can experience all the joys and benefits that sport bring for the rest of their lives, but thrive in a system that is built for them and supports their needs mentally as well as physically. The Price She Pays is one step closer towards that future.”
    Jessie Diggins, two World Cup overall titles, three Olympic medals, six World Championship medals
  • “An empathetic guide to supporting female athletes at the high school and college levels…. should be required reading for parents and coaches.”
    Publisher's Weekly

On Sale
Jun 18, 2024
Page Count
288 pages
Little Brown Spark

Tiffany Brown, PhD

About the Author

Katie Steele, LMFT is a former highly recruited D1 athlete who ran track and cross country for the famed University of Oregon team. After her running career intersected with the infamous coach Alberto Salazar, she was left with trauma for years to come. Deciding to dedicate her career to the integration of mental health care in athletics, she is now a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and co-founder of Thrive Mental Health, an outpatient mental health clinic in Bend, Oregon.  

Tiffany Brown, Ph.D., LMFT, is an award-winning, senior faculty member at the University of Oregon in the Couples and Family Therapy graduate program and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who works with student athletes and provides mental health education for coaches and staff.

Journalist Erin Strout brings compelling storytelling and essential expertise to the project as well. Her work has appeared in Washington Post, ESPN, SELF, Outside, Runner’s World, Women’s Running, Triathlete, Women’s Health and more.

Learn more about this author