The parents of a 13-year-old Denver high school cheerleader wants the school to pay for their daughter’s leg injury after she was forced into doing splits.
A disturbing video shows Ally Wakefield screaming in pain as she is forced into a split by her coach. The video shows cheerleading coach Ozell Williams pushing Ally down and several girls holding her arms as she begged, “Please stop.”
Williams is a well-known instructor who is often seen doing backflips down the field during Denver Broncos games. He also appeared on America’s Got Talent.
Ally is an incoming freshman at East High School. Her parents say she suffered a leg injury as a result of the forced splits.
Ally was taking part in a cheerleading camp at East High School, according to KUSA.
Ally’s mother, Kristen, sent the video to the school’s assistant principal Lisa Porter, who never followed up.
“I have attached a video of the forced splits she and her team members were forced to do at cheerleading camps and practices; unless they had a doctor’s note,” Kristen wrote. “This is how Ally injured her leg. My husband and I would like to know what the administration is going to do about my daughter’s injury and how it happened.”
After the local news picked up the story, Denver police launched an investigation.
Denver Public schools Superintendent Tom Boasberg suspended the assistant principal and Williams. Also placed on leave are East High principal Andy Mendelsberg, assistant cheerleading coach Mariah Cladis and deputy general counsel Michael Hickman.
“I want to reiterate in no uncertain terms our commitment to the safety of our students,” Boasberg wrote in a statement. “We absolutely prohibit any practices that place our students’ physical and mental health in jeopardy. We do not and will not allow any situation in which a student is forced to perform an activity or exercise beyond the point at which they express their desire to stop.”