PERLA GONZALEZ: Bracing herself for senior year

Senior year is meant to start off with excited peer reunions, an all new first day of school outfits and final year of high school thrill. For senior Perla Gonzalez, she had to secure her knee brace before making her way to school.

If there was one word that she would align herself with, it would be eager.

Eager to get back on her feet, eager to finish high school with a bang, and eager to cheer again.

The senior was attending cheer camp during the summer when she injured herself. Ironically, a few days before her coaches required for the team to create an emergency response team. Gonzalez was hesitant in trying this new stunt but after some peer persuasion, she was willing to challenge herself.

And as she launched herself into a cartwheel, she knew the landing was all wrong. The damage was done though. When she looked down at her dislocated knee, her immediate response was to scream and she did. Fortunately, that initial emergency response team went to the main office, called the paramedics and make sure Gonzalez was well.

Gonzalez was on the ground, frantic about how it was her final year and worst thing possible happened. Tears welled up in her eyes as her thigh swelled up and she could not feel her toes.

“Ḯt was probably the worst pain I have ever felt in my life,” said the senior. “All my years… I have been cheering since I was 7 and I never before got this badly injured.”

So she was sent to the hospital where they treated her there and put her on a month long recovery of absolutely no cheer. Gonzalez put on a brave face and attended her job after being called into work the next day. While this isn’t the first injury she’s braved through, it is her worst.

As far as returning to cheer, she’s both excited and nervous. She still has to attend the practice and spectate nonetheless but she hasn’t truly practiced in about a month.

“It’s very big for me, going back is going to be a huge wake up call for me. I’m scared to go back.”

Especially in varsity, the stunts are more demanding but Gonzalez says she’s very eager to return to the sport.

“I would say now to not do something you’re comfortable with even if your friends are telling you to,” she said with a laugh.