Numerous times each year, thousands of cheerleaders head to Walt Disney World for competitions and to enjoy the theme parks. The cheerleaders perform for trophies and placement while also spending time with their families having a good time. Last week, one cheerleader ended up leaving the “Most Magical Place On Earth” with serious injuries after being hit by a flying umbrella.
WFAA reported that 13-year-old Gabrielle Langston went to Walt Disney World from Texas for a cheerleading competition at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. Instead of just having fun and competing with her friends, she went back home with a severe head injury.
After arriving at Walt Disney World, Langston had spent a lot of time practicing and getting ready for the competition with her teammates. Her entire family was in attendance to cheer her on and support the team as they competed against numerous other squads, and she was thrilled to be there as her mom Rebecca said.
“It’s Disney World. It’s exciting to be there. It means you’re the best of the best, competing against the best of the best.”
Upon arriving at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex for the competition, things took an ugly turn when Langston was exiting her team bus. A big storm had built up and a strong wind picked up a wooden shade umbrella which had it fly directly at the cheer squad.
— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) May 14, 2019
Langston said she “just felt something hit” her when thinking back to the accident.
The coach of Langston’s cheerleading squad said he saw the umbrella flying through the air toward the girls, but he couldn’t get there in time to stop it. Langston and her friend were hit in the back of the head and knocked down onto some concrete steps.
Both of the girls were bleeding and Gabrielle said she blacked out after being hit by the umbrella. She ended up being rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed with a concussion that doctors believe will require cognitive and physical therapy due to the seriousness of the head injury.
Doctors have told Gabrielle that she “probably cannot cheer anymore.”
The other cheerleader who was hit by the umbrella also suffered a concussion and had a laceration on her head which required staples. Gabrielle Langston was not able to compete with her teammates in the competition.
Gabrielle Langston went to cheerleading competition at Walt Disney World in Florida last week, and she came home with a head injury that her family says was caused by a flying umbrella. https://t.co/ky9zddSkyg
— WFAA (@wfaa) May 13, 2019
Rebecca Langston spoke of the situation and said that Disney should have been more careful and proactive in knowing a storm was in the area. She said that the umbrella was not properly weighted down and that the umbrellas shouldn’t have still been up and open with high winds present.
“I’ve been told it’s Disney property. They were Disney umbrellas. It’s their duty to maintain and take care of them.”
Rebecca Langston has asked for an apology from The Walt Disney Company and believes they should pay for Gabrielle’s medical treatment. She also said that she wouldn’t want this to happen to any other cheerleaders or children when visiting Walt Disney World. A spokesperson for Disney has said they’ve reached out to the family.