Cheerleader recovers from injury to cheer senior year | Ascension

Cheerleader recovers from injury to cheer senior year


A competitive cheerleader since she was four, Cailin Thompson, 17, of Panama City, was accustomed to the rough and tumble sport of cheerleading.

Last year, Cailin was working on tumbling skills to compete at the highest level of the Cheerleading Worlds Team, where top teams from around the world compete at a three-day event. As she was completing a flip, her feet landed but her body continued twisting. She fell to the ground and instantly knew something was wrong. Her knee began to swell to the size of a large grapefruit.

Cheerleader recovers from injury to cheer senior yearA local ER doctor confirmed Cailin’s worst fear: her right leg was broken. The next day, she visited an orthopedic surgeon who cared for her in the past. He told Cailin she had a tibial plateau fracture, an injury that caused her to break her bone and injure the cartilage that covers the top of the tibia, and needed specialized care. He put them in touch with Dr. John Killian, orthopedic surgeon at Ascension Sacred Heart Pediatric Orthopedics.

They made the two-hour drive to their office on a Monday. “Dr. Killian and his nurse practitioner Dana [Wert] were amazing,” Cailin’s mom Suzanne said. “He explained that she needed surgery and quickly arranged for her to be scheduled for surgery the next morning. They admitted her to the hospital to help control her pain and make her more comfortable.”

Suzanne said Dana stayed with them after the office was closed to escort them to the hospital and get them checked into their room. “She went into detail and explained the surgery again to make sure Cailin understood what would happen. She stayed as long as Cailin needed her and even checked in early the next morning to make sure she was doing well.”

Cailin’s parents felt helpless not being able to take away their daughter’s pain, so they were thankful for Dana and medical assistant Maria [Lopez-Powell] for being there for them. “They not only took care of Cailin but also my husband and I,” she said.

July 15th will be one year since Cailin’s surgery. While sitting on the sidelines watching her cheer team perform without her wasn’t easy, it served as motivation to get stronger. She approached each of her physical therapy sessions with the same drive and determination she does when learning a new skill in cheer. She’s proud to finally be back practicing with her team and has made a comeback.

The family is grateful for the care Dana provided, but the best part of their experience was how Dana encouraged Cailin and her older sister to consider a career in orthopedics, Suzanne said.

“Cailin’s older sister Ashley is an EMT and is now considering going on to physician assistant school. Cailin is actively involved in Health occupations students of America in school. She has really taken this experience and made the best of it. She is the future of healthcare!

“From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for the amazing care we have received! Dr. Killian, Dr. Mayberry, Dana, and Maria ….we couldn’t have asked for a better team!”

Cailin is a senior this year at North Bay Haven Charter Academy and is excited to join her team for one final year of cheer.