Park City, Spanish Fork cheerleaders recovering
A Park City and a Spanish Fork High School cheerleader are recovering after colliding into each other during a basketball game at Spanish Fork on Jan. 5. The name of the PCHS cheerleader is not being released at the request of PCHS.
The two cheerleaders collided during a third quarter timeout while tumbling across the floor. PCHS cheer coach Alyssa Fine said the girls began on separate sides of the court but tumbled sideways and ran into each other while people yelled for them stop. The girls were unable to stop in time. The Park City cheerleader was taken into the foyer by Alyssa Fine and another parent. She was taken to the hospital and received 15 stitches, Alyssa Fine said. She has not been cleared to cheer but is expected to recover soon.
The Spanish Fork cheerleader, senior Kylee McKell, took the brunt of the collision and was temporarily knocked unconscious. Spanish Fork principal Dave McKee said McKell had a seizure on the court but awoke by the time paramedics arrived. She was taken to the hospital where doctors were concerned that fluid in the brain would cause severe damage. The next morning, she underwent surgery for a brain injury.
"She’s doing pretty good," McKee said. "She cracked her skull but the break ended up being something that was good because that helped relieve some of the pressure where the fluid left the skull. She’s not paralyzed. She can talk, and she’s texting her friends."
Although the damage is not permanent, McKee said she will have to undergo physical therapy to learn to walk again.
"The only thing that has been hard for her is she lost the ability to use her extremities," he said. "She can raise her left arm, but not her right. To walk, and be able to do tumbling, I don’t know how long that will take. She can feel everything but she can’t walk. We’re staying positive here and we feel that she’ll recover fully."
McKee said the Spanish Fork community has rallied around McKell, sending their best wishes and gifts to the school to be given to her family. Members of the Spanish Fork basketball team shaved their heads in support after McKell’s long blonde hair was shaved for the surgery.
"A lot of the kids have been fasting and praying for Kylee," McKee said. "These kids are amazing. They rally around each other."
McKee said several surrounding schools have shown their support by calling and sending cards. Dixie State College in St. George has offered to give McKell a private cheer tryout when she is able, after learning that McKell’s goal after high school was to be a cheerleader for the Red Storms. PCHS principal Hillary Hayes sent flowers and Miners’ basketball coach Caleb Fine has called to check on McKell, McKee said.
McKell said the incident was a tragic accident and although Spanish Fork has a policy that both cheer teams cannot tumble on the court at the same time, he said no one informed the other team.
Alyssa Fine said she thinks about McKell every day and feels horrible about the accident. To prevent accidents in the future, she has a adopted the same policy and added that she and the cheer captain will speak with the other team before the games.
"We’ve adopted a ‘every other time out you have the floor’ policy," she said. "And if my girls see the other girls coming, they’re not going out. We’ll just wait even if it’s our time out."
Alyssa Fine said the Miners’ cheer team got together after the accident and assembled a care package for McKell including nail polish, flowers, magazines, teddy bears and candy.
"We wanted to let her know we’re thinking about her and praying for her," she said.
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