Injured SIU Cheerleader's Fight Song - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Injured SIU Cheerleader's Fight Song

New Media Producer: Kerry Corum

UPDATE, WED, 7:45 AM: Injured Southern Illinois University cheerleader Kristi Yamaoka says she's always a cheerleader - whether she's strapped to a gurney or not.

"I wouldn't give it up for anything, and you know, life is all about taking risks. You could die at any moment, regardless of what you're doing, so I wouldn't give up cheerleading just because it's risky."

Yamaoka suffered a concussion, a spinal fracture and a bruised lung when she lost her balance atop a human pyramid during SIU's game against Bradley Sunday, in the Missouri Valley Championship in Saint Louis.

The sophomore from Springfield gained national attention when she moved her arms in time with the Saluki fight song while being wheeled off the court on a gurney. She says, "I'm still a cheerleader - on a stretcher or not.''

Yamaoka is in New York Wednesday morning, where she appeared on NBC's "Today" show.

The 18-year-old told host Katie Couric that she kept cheering because she was worried the accident would distract from the basketball game and she wanted the Salukis to win - and they did.

SIU won the game 59-to-46 to clinch a berth in the NCAA tournament. Doctors expect Kristi to make a full recovery.

Kerry's Blog

New Media Producer: Rachel Chambliss

UPDATE, TUE 8 PM: A Southern Illinois University cheerleader is anxious to get back in the game despite her 15 foot fall this weekend.

Sophomore Kristi Yamaoka fell from the top of a pyramid during a basketball game in St. Louis. She suffered a concussion, a cracked vertebrae and a bruised lung.

Despite the pain, she cheered from her stretcher as paramedics rolled her out of the stadium. And Kristi says she's looking forward to cheerleading tryouts next month!

Kristi Yamaoka replies, "I wouldn't give it up for anything, and you know, life is all about taking risks. You could die at any moment, regardless of what you're doing. So I wouldn't give up cheerleading just because it's risky."

Doctors expect Kristi to make a full recovery.

New Media Producer: Kerry Corum

PREVIOUSLY:It looks like a Southern Illinois University cheerleader, who fell on her head during a game, will make a full recovery.

Saluki cheerleader Kristi Yamaoka fell 15 feet from the top of a pyramid, during a routine at a game in St. Louis over the weekend.

Yamaoka spent Monday night in the hospital for observation but could go home Tuesday. She even continued her routine as she was carried off on a stretcher.

In case you're wondering, the Salukis won that game on Sunday.

Contributions courtesy AP, All Rights Reserved.

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