GHS cheerleader injured in stunt


Published: Wednesday, January 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 1, 2003 at 12:12 a.m.

A Gainesville High School cheerleader is in serious condition in a Kentucky hospital after being injured in a cheerleading stunt that went awry.

Candis Vinson, a 15-year-old GHS freshman, has been in Kosier Children's Hospital in Louisville, Ky., since Friday, when she suffered multiple skull fractures after falling during a "toss" maneuver on the sidelines of a holiday basketball tournament in Marion, Ky.

"We have a long run ahead of us," said Bobby Vinson, Candis' father. "The doctors are telling us she could be in the hospital for a month."

Family members say Vinson was performing a "basket toss" - a maneuver in which a cheerleader is thrown into the air by a group of other cheerleaders - at the Friday game when she fell and struck her head. Vinson was the one being tossed into the air. Vinson's family members said that other cheerleaders on the squad weren't able to catch her as she came down.

Family members said her injuries didn't appear serious at first, though soon Vinson's head began to swell and blood began coming out of her ears.

Citing privacy policies, officials at Kosier would not comment on Vinson's condition except to say that it was "serious." Family members say she has been in and out of surgery since Friday. They say they've been told that developments over the next two days will be critical to her recovery.

Her grandmother, Rosa Bradley, said Candis has been interested in cheerleading for years. "She told us at Christmas that she would be going to Kentucky for this tournament," Bradley said. "She was excited about it. She loves cheerleading."

Family members say Candis had also long had her sights set on becoming a "flier" - one of the cheerleaders who are thrown into the air during "toss" maneuvers.

"I'd been trying to talk her out of the flying thing," Bobby Vinson said. "I didn't feel very good about it."

Cheerleading accidents often lead to sprains and broken limbs, but life-threatening injuries are uncommon in the sport. According to 2001 study by the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research, high school cheerleading accidents led to one death during the period from 1982 to 2001 - compared to 18 deaths from track-related accidents and 81 deaths from football-related accidents over the same period.

The University of Nebraska banned "fliers" from its cheerleading squad earlier this year after spending $2.1 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a cheerleader who suffered a serious head injury during practice in 1996.

GHS Principal Wiley Dixon said the school will review its cheerleading policies after school starts Monday.

"I'm going to sit down with the cheerleading adviser to see what needs to be done," Dixon said.

Tim Lockette can be reached at 374-5088 or lockett@ gvillesun.com.

CHEERLEADER:

Could spend weeks in the hospital

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top