READING THE NEWS

News Story 3: A Very Spirited Cheerleader

Kristi Yamaoka, a cheerleader from Southern Illinois University, fell 15 feet and landed on her head during a recent basketball tournament. The 18 year-old sophomore was perched atop a group of her fellow cheerleaders. Together, they formed a human pyramid. Suddenly, the stunt went wrong and Kristi came tumbling down. She landed on her head.

People in the stands were stunned, as Yamaoka lay motionless for several minutes on the court. Emergency medical workers put the cheerleader on a stretcher. As she was being wheeled off the court, the Southern Illinois University band started playing the fight song "Go Southern Go." Yamaoka managed to give two thumbs up and to move her arm in time to the music. The crowd of 14,000 responded with a standing ovation for the brave and spirited cheerleader.

From her hospital bed, Yamaoka said, "As long as my arms were functioning, I could do the fight song." She explained that she didn't want her team to get distracted. She wanted them to pull off a win. Fortunately, her team did win the game.

Yamaoka is expected to make a full recovery, though doctors have told her she must take it easy for the next six weeks. That means her cheerleading is over for the season. Yamaoka says she'll try to join the team again next season.

After Yamaoka's injury, the Missouri Valley Conference has barred cheerleaders from performing certain stunts that they now consider high risk.

Yamaoka, however, has no regrets. "Life is about taking risks, and you can die at any moment," she says.

Vocabulary:

cheerleader - at sporting events, a member of a team that leads cheers and performs dances and gymnastic moves
sophomore - a student in their second year of high school or college
perched atop - balanced on top of
human pyramid - when rows of people stand or kneel on top of each other to form the shape of a pyramid; each person is balanced atop two others
stunt - an action that displays unusual daring, strength or skill
(to) come tumbling down - to fall
stunned - shocked; very surprised
motionless - not moving; completely still
stretcher - an object used to transport the wounded or sick
fight song - a sports team's unique song, played so the fans will cheer for the team
(to) give two thumbs up - to raise two thumbs as a sign of support or approval
in time to - along with the beat or rhythm of
standing ovation - when the audience stands up and claps, as a sign of praise, usually at the end of a performance
spirited - lively, enthusiastic; willing to face danger
functioning - working
distracted - losing focus; having one's attention drawn away
(to) pull off - to succeed in doing something
(to) make a full recovery - to get 100% better after an accident or injury
(to) take it easy - to relax
(to) bar - to prevent; to forbid

Quick Quiz:

Answer the questions below. When finished, click the "Check your answers" button to get your score. Have fun!


    1. What happened to the cheerleader?

      She was thrown up into the air by another cheerleader, and she fell.
      She was balanced on top of a group of cheerleaders, and she fell down.
      She got trapped inside a pyramid and couldn't get out.


    2. What was the band doing as the cheerleader was being carried away?

      They were playing music to show support for her.
      They were very quiet.
      They were clapping and cheering to show support for her.


    3) What best describes the cheerleader's attitude to the fall?

      She's very upset and worried about her recovery.
      She's angry at her teammates.
      She accepts it as part of the risk of cheerleading.


    4) What are the cheerleader's plans regarding cheerleading?

      She won't be returning to cheerleading ever again.
      She will try to go back to cheerleading within the next few weeks.
      She will recover from her fall and try to return to cheerleading next season.


    5) What did the Missouri Valley Conference do as a result of Kristi Yamaoka's      fall?

      They banned cheerleading from future basketball games.
      They said cheerleaders could no longer perform certain "high risk" stunts.
      They said Yamaoka could no longer peform any risky stunts.


ANSWERS:
1) She was balanced on top of a group of cheerleaders, and she fell down.
2) They were playing music to show support for her.
3) She accepts it as part of the risk of cheerleading.
4) She will recover from her fall and try to return to cheerleading next season.
5) They said cheerleaders could no longer perform certain "high risk" stunts.

 

   
 
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