A cheerleader who’s back could crumble at any moment due to curved spine has life changing op
A cheerleader who was told her S shaped spine could crumble at any moment has undergone a life changing op to straighten it.
Aimee Gooda, 13, was diagnosed with scoliosis – an abnormal curvature of the spine – in October 2015 after suffering hip pain.
With a severe curve of 61.4 degrees, Aimee’s consultant warned her worried parents Sarah, 43 and Kevin, 53, from Gravesend, Kent, that without an operation the teen’s spine was a ticking time bomb and could crumble under pressure.
The dedicated cheerleader, who had just qualified to compete in the world championships next year in Florida, was devastated and instantly thought her dreams were over.
But after a six hour operation, the teenager’s spine was fused straight and reinforced with 22 screws and two titanium rods.
Aimee is now on a successful road to a full recovery and is looking forward to performing again.
Aimee’s mum Sarah, a banker, said: “Cheer is Aimee’s life, she trained five times a week and would do it all day every day if she could, so being told she had to have major surgery was devastating.
“Her team competed in the world championships this year, she wasn’t old enough to perform but had been chosen to go next year instead and was so excited.
“When she realised she was going to miss competition due to her recovery she was devastated, but unfortunately she didn’t have a choice and had to have the surgery before her spine worsened and ruined her chances completely.
“Thankfully the surgery was a huge success and surgeons were able to straighten her spine using titanium rods, she was up and about after just 48 hours and has already wore her cheer training outfit.
“We are so proud of Aimee, she has already made huge improvements and, despite having to wear a brace for the next three months, she can’t wait to re-join her team.
“She is so talented and I am convinced she will have a career in cheer some way or another.”
After joining Intensity Cheer Extreme at the age of just 10, Aimee was soon competing at world level.
But this time last year Sarah, Aimee’s mum, noticed her curved spine after Aimee complained that her hip felt like it was out of place.
She added: “We took her to see a consultant and x-rays revealed that Aimee had a 53 degree curve in her spine.
“At this point the consultant was happy for Aimee to carry on with cheer but in May this year we took her back for another X-ray and her curve was now at 61.4 degrees.
“The surgeon told Aimee that it would be dangerous to leave it as the bottom of her spine could crumble as it had begun to curve the other way.
“Aimee was devastated, she had just been chosen to compete at the world championships and broke down when she found out she had to have the operation before the competition.”
On July 30, Aimee had the life changing operation and her spine was fused straight and reinforced with 22 screws and two titanium rods.
Whilst on the operating table, surgeons found that it was congenital scoliosis which means she was born with the condition rather than it developing over time – effecting 1 in every 10,000 people.
Miraculously within 48 hours Aimee was back on her feet and had successfully taken her first steps.
Sarah said: “After that there was no stopping her and after only a week Aimee was allowed to come home.
“Just before her operation she competed in Bournemouth where her cheer squad and stunt group came first becoming National Champions.
“We were all very emotional as we thought that would be her last performance, but Aimee’s consultant has reassured us that she will be able to perform at some level after a year of recovery.
“But the surgeon did tell us that she wouldn’t be able to tumble anymore as she no longer has any shock absorbers in her back.
“But I know that won’t stop her, and she will still be able to compete at a professional level.
“It may take a year for her to perform again but I have never known anyone so determined to do something.
“One of the nurses told Aimee that even the experts can get it wrong sometimes, I think that has stuck in her mind and she is determined to prove everyone wrong.
“Her coaches have been amazing, they want to keep her involved and help coach the younger cheerleaders in the academy, for Aimee that has been her lifeline.
“She knows that the sooner she recovers the sooner she can start practising cheer again.”
Aimee said: “When doctors told me I had to have an operation I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to perform again, but I am so happy that everything went well and I can’t wait to start back at cheer.”
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