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16 year old Christina Martyniouk was a seasoned cheerleader at Stevenson High School who spent hours each day practicing her flips, tucks and tumbles. During a regular practice session on a trampoline, a distraction caused her to misjudge her flip. Christina landed on her stomach, with her legs stretching over her head. After experiencing severe pain, and on the advice of her athletic coaches, Christina and her mother visited the NorthShore Spine Center, a decision that saved Christina from a life-changing injury. She shares her experience below:
After your injury, what lead you to getting checked up?After the injury, I went to school that following week for about two days. When it was time for cheerleading practice, I went to the athletic trainer at my school, and he said that in order to get back into cheer, I would need an X-ray. Later that night, we went and got one.What stood out to you and your mom during your first visit to NorthShore with Dr. Musacchio?The main thing that stood out to my mom and I was Dr. Musacchio’s reassurance that we were in good hands, and that he knew what he was doing. In what ways did your surgery impact your daily life?The surgery helped me get rid of some of the constant pain, but also reassured me that I was safe to walk and go about my daily lifestyle.How did NorthShore’s care team make the recovery process for you and your family?The NorthShore team was absolutely incredible. We received so much support every day at the hospital and even after I went home. My greatest memory was when a group of the nurses gave me a quilt that I, to this day, use. How did it feel returning to your regular activities after surgery? What activities were you excited to get back to?I was very excited to go back to school after missing two weeks of it. I loved seeing all my friends and getting a great amount of support and love from everyone. I was excited to start exercising again; it was a big part of my life before my injury, and this surgery helped it become a daily kind of thing.Has this experience inspired you in your own life? What did you learn during the process?This experience has taught me that all young athletes should cherish their time as athletes. Nothing is set in stone, and we should appreciate every second we get with our team, coaches and just the feeling of doing what we love. Although my injury has stopped me from pursuing my goals of cheerleading, I don’t regret any moment I spent on that mat at Stevenson High School. Being a Stevenson High School cheerleader has taught me how to be a leader and how to work for what I want to be. I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunities that I was given. I would say that I am a very lucky person to be where I am today. What would you and your family say to other young athletes and parents about injuries and getting checkups?When you think you’re hurt and you try avoiding it, don’t. Get the help you need, and play smart. Always remember to take nothing for granted!