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2-time Olympic judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison’s book ‘Fighting Back’ scheduled for April 20 release

Kayla Harrison, the two-time Olympic judo gold medalist, is planning to release her book Fighting Back: What an Olympic Champion Can Teach Us about Recognizing and Preventing Child Abuse – and Helping Kids Recover┬áthis April.

Written in conjunction with Harrison’s therapist Cynthia S. Kaplan, PhD. and psychologist Blaise Aguirre, M.D., Fighting Back is for the most part an educational resource in identifying the signs of child sexual abuse, with in-depth information that includes how abusers target victims, how to protect children, and how they can recover.

Harrison, 27, shares her personal experience as a promising judo student who was abused by her coach from ages 12 to 16. With the assistance of Kaplan, Aguirre, and the Pedro family, she became a survivor.

“I’ve shared it with a couple of close people and I’m nervous about sharing it to be honest, not just the world, but with people that I care about just because it’s so … it’s a hard read,” Harrison explained to The Crossfire over the phone during a break from a training session at American Top Team. “It’s in-depth and it’s a lot of stuff something I haven’t talked about with people besides my therapist. But everyone’s been extremely supportive and they think it’s going to have a major impact. I know a lot of people that have read it or that I have had talks about the book with, they feel like they wish it would have been done years ago.”

Harrison, who has trained with former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, signed with the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) in 2016, which is now the Professional Fighters League (PFL). An official date has not been set for her debut, but she can currently be seen doing commentary on PFL broadcasts and online video tutorials.

Fighting Back is expected to retail for $14.95 USD for the paperback version and is published by Guilford Press.

Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for an upcoming conversation feature with Kayla Harrison about her book.


Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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