As Prep Cheerleader Lies In Coma, School Administrators Investigate Accident
Posted November 4, 2003 7:46 a.m. EST
WILSON, N.C. — A local high-school cheerleader is in a drug-induced coma Monday night after falling during a stunt. The accident could bring changes to the sidelines in Wilson County.
When Hunt High School hosted rival Fike Friday night, some of the Warrior spirit was missing. The school had canceled an afternoon pep rally because most of the cheerleaders' minds were on their junior-varsity teammate.
Fourteen-year-old Katherine Yount had been practicing a stunt on Fike's field before Thursday's JV game when she fell and hit her head. She was taken to Pitt Memorial Hospital and put in a drug-induced coma to keep brain swelling down.
The accident happened just behind one of the goal posts, in the high-jump area of the football/track stadium. Her teammates threw Yount up in the air, just as they had all week in practice. But as she came down, she hit her teammates' hands, slipped through and hit her head on the ground, with only a thin layer of rubber separating it from the asphalt.
Yount went to the hospital, and the rest of the squad stayed and cheered on the team.
"It was very trying for them, of course," Hunt athletic director Angela Miller said. "There is a lot of guilt. They were concerned that they had done something improper, and they had not."
School administrators said safety guidelines were followed, but now they may change the rules to put more padding where the cheerleaders are.
"The padding that was there -- the surface that they used was OK," said Assistant Superintendent Russ Lenden. "But I think we can do better."
While Yount remains in a coma, teachers and students say there is a noticeable void at school.
"She's a great student, a great role model," Miller said of Yount. "She has a lot of friends."
Lots of people in her community are cheering for her full recovery. Yount's family said her condition changes day to day. Doctors at Pitt Memorial Hospital say that, because she is young and healthy, she has a good chance of recovering.