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Cheeleader gets call from singer

April 17, 2000|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - Country music singer Julie Reeves cried when she read that a West Virginia fan with a head injury perked up during one of her songs. "I said, 'I've got to call this girl,'" Reeves recalled.

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The fan was Hedgesville (W.Va.) High School cheerleader Amanda Cummings, who was cheering at a basketball game on March 1 when she collided with a player chasing a loose ball.

She appeared all right at first, but doctors later found fractures to her skull and a blood clot in her head. The clot was removed two days after the game, and four titanium plates were put in.

Cummings continues to recover and went back to school full time about three weeks ago.

Within a few days of her return to school - when Reeves called Amanda and offered her backstage passes for a future concert - Amanda became a minor celebrity.

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A story about Amanda's ordeal ran in the March 7 Morning Herald. The story said that Cindy Cummings knew her daughter was getting better when she began singing along to Reeves' song "What I Need" three days after her surgery.

The story reached Virgin Records of Nashville, Reeves' label, through a clipping service. Reeves said her publicist told her about it. "I ran upstairs and read it," she said. "I started crying."

On April 5, Regina Stuve of Virgin Records called Amanda's mother, Cindy, to see if Amanada would be home later that day. Reeves called Amanda after school.

"When I said who I was, she got real quiet," Reeves, 24, said in a phone interview while driving home from a meeting about her upcoming album. "She said, 'Really?'

"I said, I'm just calling to see you're OK,'" Reeves added. "Her voice just started shaking. She was just trying to stay cool. When you're 16, you have to be cool."

Amanda's younger sister, Katy, heard who would be calling from her mother. As Reeves chatted with Amanda, Katy was nearby, screaming with excitement.

"What a super thing for that girl to do," Amanda's father, Tom, said the next day. "My daughter's in seventh heaven."

Amanda acknowledged that her voice gave out a little during the call, but said that was mainly because she had been losing it at school. She had given a presentation on AIDS for several classes and was beginning to get a cold.

"She said she was really glad I liked her song," Amanda said.

The phone conversation didn't last long. Neither was aware that they had one thing in common: the search for the perfect dress.

Amanda, who is going to a prom with her boyfriend on April 29, had already found hers and was awaiting an alteration.

Reeves, who is one of three nominees for the Academy of Country Music's top new female vocalist, was feeling pressured as the May 3 awards show loomed, unsure what she would wear. A New York City shopping trip had been postponed.

"The nervous part is setting in," said Reeves, who is scheduled to perform at the awards show. "The worst part is finding the right dress."

Reeves said she is impressed by Amanda's resolve to resume cheerleading, which includes climbing to the top of human pyramids. "She's so brave. She's not afraid to have her life back again," she said.

"I think I'd be scared," added Reeves, who noted that her first and last shot at cheerleading was in fifth grade.

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