Cheerleader Fractures Neck In Practice

In Athens, a high school cheerleader is recovering from a cheerleading accident that left her close to paralysis.

Katie Love was the "base" -- the person who does the heavy lifting for those acrobatic drills the cheerleaders perform. Last week, one small mistake left her badly hurt.

Recovering, she says prayers of the community have been answered.

Week after week, Katie helps lift her friends.  Now the cards and flowers lift her after the accident on Wednesday. The team was practicing a new stunt, and her best friend Whitney was in the air.

"She was starting to fall toward me and so I got under her so she wouldn't hit the ground," Katie says.

"She fell right on my head, and it caused my head to go to the left a little bit, and it popped."

It was a vertebra snapping. The fracture compressed a nerve and Katie went down.

"I just sat down on the gym floor and my elbow was really burning and my fingers felt fat and tingly."

Katie left the hospital Monday, and her mom says they're praying the break will heal on it's own. Though the neck brace that makes it hard for her to just walk to the car will stay on for at least six weeks.

"If the further X-rays don't show it getting better, they would probably recommend to fuse those vertebra," says her mother, Cindy Moore.

There are no hard feelings of course, her dad says it's just something that happens in cheering.

"She doesn't believe that she did anything other than be a good teammate," Kevin Love says.

Katie says she'll keep going foward with all she's involved in.

"We have [cheerleading] nationals in December, and I want to be able to do that, but I don't know if I will."

So many people have come to visit her while she's been in the hospital.

"I'm thankful for everyone who's come up and said that they were praying because it's already helping," she says.

Whether she cheers again sooner or later, she and everyone who knows her is thankful, because it could have been much worse.

Katie is also on the volleyball and softball teams at Athens. If she's not ready for cheerleading nationals in December, she hopes to be able to join the softball team for practices early next year.

Reported by Morgan Palmer.