UK cheerleader walking 2 months after potentially fatal fall

By Alex Ruf

Just two months after a serious accident, cheerleader Dylan Smith is walking to all of his classes with no assistance.

Over the summer, Smith, a pre-nursing sophomore from North Smithfield, R.I., was put into critical condition after a gymnastics accident.

While teaching tumbling to kids in Rhode Island, he fell backward into a door while performing tricks. The door opened outside, and he fell four stories to the ground.

He was hospitalized for a fractured pelvis, dislocated hip, ruptured spleen and partially punctured lung.

Smith is determined to get better, he said. After just one month of physical therapy, he is walking with little to no difficulty.

The day before classes started, Smith decided to stop using his cane and walk on his own.

He said he could not have done it alone.

“The Big Blue Nation and the whole UK community inspired my recovery,” he said.

Every day after the accident, Smith said he received countless texts, emails and phone calls, all supporting and wishing him the best. These messages came from not just his cheerleading squad but the entire UK community, including faculty members.

“The outpour of support made me want to come back to Kentucky,” he said.

Smith’s accident has put things in a new perspective for him, he said.

He said is trying to focus on school and has set goals to improve his GPA.

He hopes to take his competitive attitude to sports and apply it to nursing.

But Smith hasn’t given up on cheerleading. The support from UK students and faculty drove Smith to push himself, he said.

He has set the goal to be in ready for the national tournament for cheerleading next January.

“When I think of a real outgoing cheerleader, he is what comes to mind,”  said cheerleading head coach Jomo Thompson, adding that Smith was always positive.

“There were times this summer when I was getting down about the accident, and Dylan was the one who brought me up,” Thompson said.