American Fork cheerleader defying the odds after ATV crash leaves her paralyzed from shoulders down

May 1, 2022, 6:28 PM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 4:37 pm

AMERICAN FORK, Utah — A local cheerleader is defying the odds after a life-changing, horrific crash left her paralyzed from the shoulders down.

Sixteen-year-old Emily Traveller, a student at American Fork High School, was with her friends and classmates at Little Sahara Recreation Area when the rollover crash happened.

Emily was pinned under an ATV for an hour, as paramedics had to rip off the roof to get her out of the back seat, and a medical helicopter took her to Utah Valley Hospital.

That’s where her parents finally were able to meet up with her.

“The hospital staff just converged on our baby girl, and we could see that her limbs weren’t responding, weren’t moving, and we knew it was serious,” said Kari Traveller, Emily’s mother. “The more it settled in, and we’re still wrapping our minds around it because you’re trying to convince yourself it’s not happening.”

The doctor told Emily’s parents that she had broken her neck in two spots and that there had been damage to her spinal cord. Emily was now paralyzed from the shoulders down.

It was an unimaginable thought for their adventurous, energetic daughter.

Through her love of gymnastics, Emily has learned to push her body, and now she’s pushing her body in a new way and defying the odds.

“We call it her ‘flex.’ Everyone that comes in, we say show them your flex, and she can rotate her arm, and we were obviously thrilled, and so was she,” Kari said.

Emily is gaining motivation thanks to the overwhelming support from family, friends, and even the hospital staff.

Nurses knew she was missing prom this weekend, so they decorated the room for Emily and her date.

A girl so used to cheering on others now has everyone cheering for her.

“Just to walk again. That’s really all that I want to accomplish, and that’s a really big goal cause I only can feel my legs a little bit, so it’s a big goal,” Emily said.

Emily will spend several weeks at Utah Valley Hospital and then go to Denver to a specialty rehab center. If you’d like to follow her journey on their Facebook page or if you’d like to help the family, they have a GoFundMe* page.

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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American Fork cheerleader defying the odds after ATV crash leaves her paralyzed from shoulders down