So for everyone who says that cheerleading isn’t a sport, I am here to tell you that yes, it is. For everyone who thinks that all cheerleaders do is yell ‘GO TEAM!’ I am here to tell you, that’s not even close to what we do. And for everyone who says that you can’t get injured while cheerleading, it’s story time.
About a year and a half ago I was doing a back walkover. The second or third time I did it, there was this pain in my left elbow. What did I do? I ignored it. Biggest mistake of my life. That pain was way more than just soreness. I went to the local Med-Express where I got a set of x-rays done and was told I fractured my arm and needed to let it heal and then go to physical therapy. So I did. My arm got better and then…..I did another back walkover. You can probably guess what happened. Yep, I hurt myself. After another hospital visit and another set of x-rays, I was sent to a specialist after another round of physical therapy. What did the specialist do? Made me go through another set of x-rays and another round of physical therapy. I could tell it wasn’t helping anything. I was frustrated and upset that I couldn’t do what I loved. With this injury, I couldn’t cheer or dance or really do anything. Typing on a computer became a struggle, straightening my arm at all killed. It sucked. The specialist eventually told me that he had no clue what was going on and there was nothing else he could do. He said it’d be better for me to head down to an orthopedic surgeon in Ann Arbor to get better help. Wow, thanks man, you were supposed to help. Let’s just say that after I was told that, I went home and cried. I felt so helpless.
The day of my Ann Arbor trip came and there I got another set of x-rays (shocker) and was told that I could need surgery. I was also told that my future as a cheerleader could be at stake. Considering I have been cheering since kindergarten, this trip scared me. Cheer is my entire life and I couldn’t imagine a life without it. That doctors appointment also ended in tears. I’m pretty sure I went through another round of physical therapy, but by now it’s all kind of blending together. I went back to the surgeon and he confirmed that I would need surgery because I overstretched my UCL. Brilliant. The surgery date was set for July 10th, 2014. To say I was scared would be an understatement. I was terrified. Cheering in the future was still at stake. I couldn’t do anything.
Finally the big day came. My little brother woke me up that morning saying ‘sissy it’s time to get up to get your elbow fixed!’ I rolled out of bed and got in the car. The entire way to the U of M hospital I had my headphones in listening to Austin Mahone’s cd, The Secret. To be honest, he was probably the only one who could calm me down (sorry mom and dad but it’s true). At the hospital I was checked in and put on a bed in a gown. My headphones were still in and Austin was still singing to me. But at this point, I was full on freaking out. I was crying and usually when I freak out like this, I end up puking so I was scared I was going to throw up. I was a mess. The anesthesiologist came and did their thing and soon it was time for me go go into the operating room. I handed over my phone and headphones and my parents kissed my forehead and told me I’d be out in no time. The last thing I remember before unconsciousness was one of the nurses telling me I had pretty hair.
I woke up to my arm encased in a wrap. It didn’t reallly hurt, but I was on some pretty strong pain meds. I was delirious. I literally was laughing at everything my mom said (I guess, I don’t really remember it). We were released from the hospital and headed back home. We picked up my cousin to take care of me and hang out while I was recovering. My cousin is one of my best friends so it was nice to have someone to make me laugh and feel better. I remember that week I ate a lot of junk food and didn’t do much besides lay in bed and watch movies. I went to cheer practice one day because I missed being around the crazy girls I call my teammates.
A week later I went back down to Ann Arbor to get the wrap thing off. They put me in a brace instead. I looked like a robot but it was pretty cool. I remember going back to practice one day and having them all ooh and ah over my ‘robot arm’ as we called it. I went through some more physical therapy after I got my stitches out. But this time it was different. I committed to the PT. I wanted to get back on the track and stunt and cheer with my team. By the time I went back to Ann Arbor, I was told I could cheer again. I left this time with a smile on my face.
After a few more trips to the orthopedic surgeon, I was cleared to go back to stunting and gymnastics. Just to take things slowly. I flew for the first time at the football game that sent our football team to playoffs. I competed in a competition for the first time since freshman year. Even though I was only cleared to start gymnastics a few weeks ago, I really haven’t stopped cartwheeling. It feels awesome to be back.
I still have the scar from surgery and I’ll probably have it forever. But the scar reminds me of all I’ve went through. Plus I convinced some people that I was attacked by a shark, funny thing is they believed me. One kid even called me Shark Bite for a while.
I’m sure you all have heard of pro surfer Bethany Hamilton? She was my biggest inspiration through this whole thing. I figured that if she could lose her entire arm and still do what she loves, I could have Tommy John sugery and go back to what I love. Bethany Hamilton is my hero. She inspired me to stay strong and write this blog post. She’s such an inspiration to so many people. Maybe somehow this blog post will get back to her and she’ll know how much she has impacted my life. Some day I hope to meet Bethany, to meet my hero.
Well guys, now you know about the toughest time of my life. You know that I have a scar on my elbow and that I overstretched a ligament in my arm.
So when you injure yourself and think that your life will never be the same like I did a year ago, just think that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Even though I had surgery and couldn’t stunt for a while, I improved my other cheer skills. Even though I won’t be able to cheer in college, I get to dance in college. Don’t let one little setback determine your entire life. And for god’s sake don’t think that your life is over becase you can’t do what you love.
That’s all I got for today guys! You know it really would be awesome if Bethany saw this, if you want to you can tweet her the link, maybe she’ll check it out! Make sure to follow my Twitter: @Hey_im_Dallas and Instagram: @Dallas_G98 thanks guys!