© 2022 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Cheerleader injured during game at Savvis Center


St. Louis, MO – A Southern Illinois University cheerleader fell on her head during a routine in the last few minutes of a game at the Savvis Center on Sunday. She was taken off the court on a stretcher, but says she expects a full recovery.

Speaking from her St. Louis hospital bed Monday morning, Kristi Yamaoka of Springfield, Ill. says she fractured her neck and sustained a concussion after falling about 15 feet. It happened during a timeout late in SIUs 59-46 win over Bradley in the championship game of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. The win clinched for the Salukis a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

While being taken off the court on a stretcher, Yamaoka let everyone in the Savvis Center - and on national television - know she was okay by waving her arms and finishing out the cheer to the Salukis' fight song.

Yamaoka says she wanted the team to remain focused on winning, not worrying about her.

Yamaoka says she'll be out at least six weeks. That means her season's over as the Salukis get ready for the NCAA Tournament.


Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.