I was a cheerleader for almost all of my childhood. I started at age 5 and continued until my Sophomore year in High School. I had to quit due to so many injuries that piled up one after another. You see, I didn't really care about the normal cheerleading at football games or basketball games, it was the competition cheer that I really loved.
At age 11, I got my first taste of All-Star cheer when living in Dallas (well, almost). You see, I was so excited to start doing competitive cheer as opposed to just school cheerleading because well, I'm competitive and competition tends to bring the best out of me. It also, however, brings out the injuries in me.
It was actually my first day of practice with my new All-Star team (I can't believe it but I can't for the life of me remember the name). I was one of the youngest on the team so right away felt I had something to prove. To make everyone else see that yes, I belonged. We went through stretching and started working on different techniques and learning a new routine. All was going well. I new I belonged.
We then started warming up for tumbling. The way it works is you always start with the easiest tumbling first and then move on to the more difficult stuff. I had no problem with tumbling. I loved it. We went through just cartwheels to warm up and then round off's. Easy peasy. Next was round off toe touch. Piece of cake, right. Well, normally I would say yes. This is such a simple thing, BUT I am trying to prove my worth. SO, I am trying to be better, no perfect in everything I do. I do my round off and end up with too much rebound for my toe touch (I blame adrenaline). But I can't not do the toe touch so I just go for it, except I am all off balance now and I am leaning too far back in the air so when I come down, instead of landing on my feet I land directly on my left arm. I try to get up quickly because I am soooo embarrassed. Except my arm won't move. From the time I hit the mat to the time I tried to stand up and then look at my arm, it has turned a really ugly purplish color and has swelled up so much it doesn't look like an arm anymore. Of course, I scream.
My mom comes running back to the practice area and I am screaming in pain. I have broken my arm. Not just a little bit either. I ended up having to have surgery because I shattered my elbow and pins had to be put in place to hold it all together. Not only did I shatter it, I ended up with nerve damage in my arm to where I couldn't use portions of my hand for about 6 months. And I am left handed so this was a problem.
I ended up starting my first day of middle school with a large cast on my left arm and having to try to do everything right handed. Not cool.
Eventually, I gained full motion back into my arm and hand and other than a scar and the fact that my left arm isn't double jointed anymore, all turned out well. I never lost my competitiveness though. Before I regained full motion in my arm I leaned how to do one armed back handsprings so I could still tumble. It eventually led me to learn how to do my back tuck. Not even a shattered elbow was going to slow me down.