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Cheerleader's surgery can't stop spirit

March 04, 2000|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Hedgesville High School cheerleader Amanda Cummings couldn't cheer for her school's basketball team in its sectional tournament game against Martinsburg High School Friday night.

While the game was being played, Amanda, 16, was having surgery to remove a large blood clot that resulted from a freak accident at the team's Wednesday night game against Jefferson High School.

But Amanda - whose head stuck a wall and the floor after a Hedgesville player went out of bounds after a loose ball and ran into her - was with the team in spirit, her father said during a telephone interview Saturday.

Before going into surgery, the Hedgesville junior was wondering how her team was doing, Tom Cummings said. And one of her first questions after getting out of surgery was how the team had fared.

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The team had lost. Coaches at first suggested telling her the team had won, then breaking the news of the loss after she had time to recover, her father said.

The important thing was that Amanda's doctor was victorious in the surgery, one coach told him.

To keep them from being distracted, the Hedgesville basketball team and cheerleaders weren't told that Amanda was having surgery until after the game was over, Cummings said.

Later, they gathered at one of her schoolmate's homes to wait for news of how the operation went, he said.

The news was good.

Amanda had undergone a remarkable transformation since she'd gone into surgery, Cummings said.

He said he was told that before she'd even left the operating room, Amanda had started talking, saying how much better she felt and thanking everyone for helping her.

She had been very uncomfortable before the surgery, in which four titanium plates were placed in the side of her head to keep the roughly 4-inch crack in her skull together and cover the hole from the surgery, he said.

"Today, she's sore and has a huge black eye, but she's recovering well," said Cummings. He said he was told Amanda might come home as early as Monday or Tuesday.

Amanda was knocked unconscious when her head struck the wall Wednesday night, and she had bruises from where the player collided with her, her father said.

She was taken to the emergency room at City Hospital in Martinsburg, where she was examined and kept under observation for a few hours before doctors sent her home.

Because she didn't show signs such as confusion or loss of motor skills, doctors didn't discover the severity of Amanda's injury until Friday, when she began vomiting, Cummings said.

Her family doctor suggested she be taken back to the emergency room for a CAT scan.

After the test revealed the large blood clot, the emergency room doctor told them she needed to see a neurologist right away, Cummings said.

They took her to a neurologist at Washington County Hospital, who looked at her test results and suggested she promptly have surgery to remove the clot, he said.

Waiting for results of the surgery, team members vowed they'd shave their heads if Amanda had to have her head shaved, Cummings said.

Fortunately, she didn't have to, he said.

There was concern over Amanda at the school and throughout Hedgesville, Cummings said. He estimated the family has received about 500 phone calls asking about Amanda and if they could help in some way.

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