BREAKING: Union College Student Seriously Injured in Acrobatics Accident


(Spectrumbot) #1

A Union College student is currently in critical condition after falling over 30 feet Wednesday night during an acrobatics practice.

The Journal Star, a local paper near the Lincoln, Nebraska-based Adventist institution, was the first to break the story in the early hours this morning. They reported that Lincoln Fire and Rescue crews responded to a call around 8 p.m. Wednesday night when it was reported someone had fallen from over thirty feet in the air.

The injured woman has been identified as a member of Union College’s Gymnaires team, an acrobatic gymnastic team who perform stunts closer to circus gymnastics and cheerleading than acrobatics, according to the team’s website. The Gymnaires travel through the Midwest and internationally, performing at churches and high schools.

The Journal Star reported that it was an equipment failure that caused the fall. The student had been practicing the suspended rope at the time of the accident and “landed partially on a mat below” according to an interview with Lincoln Police Capt. Bob Farber.

As of last night the woman was listed in critical condition.

Union College posted a notice on their website this morning, confirming that the student is still at the hospital, and that “Union College is doing everything possible to support the student’s family, friends and teammates.”

The gymnasium where the incident occurred has been closed and the college basketball games scheduled for Thursday have been cancelled.

“The safety of students is the top priority for Union College and administrators are cooperating with the authorities who are investigating the incident,” the report said. “Please keep this student, her family and all of Union College in your prayers at this time.”

Counseling services are available to her teammates and friends.

The 22-year-old was unnamed in the article, but friends and family of the victim have taken to Facebook to rally prayer and support, identifying her as Heather Boulais.

Union College’s ASB Facebook page posted this around eight this morning: “Prayer Service at CVC at 10:30 this morning. Please pray for our Union family today. United We Pray. #UnionUnited.”

The Union College Facebook Page posted this statement: “A member of the Union College gymnastic team was seriously injured last night during practice. The school family will be holding a prayer service in the sanctuary of the College View Church at 10:30 a.m. Please join us in prayer for this student wherever you are.”

The post has been shared 72 times as of publication.

The Clocktower, the official news outlet for Union College, posted this to their Facebook page: “Today, at 10:30 a.m., we will come together in prayer at CVC. Join us. United we pray. ‪#‎UnionUnited‬”

“Our thoughts and prayers are going to the injured girl and the team,” said Union College spokesman Ryan Teller.

Rachel Logan is a writing intern for Spectrum Magazine.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6565

(Not azgp) #2

Our prayers go out not only to the injured student, but to those individuals around her who were either involved in or witnessed the incident and who will also be forced to deal with coping. We hope for a strong and quick recovery.


(Kevin Paulson) #3

May she recover soon and fully. All of us will pray.


(Thomas J Zwemer) #4

30 feet! I fell out of bed and got a compound fracture of my left tibia. Even young and resilient this is very serious. I pray for the student and the surgical medical staff. Next, I hope that the college will double up on equipment inspection and safety measures. risk management is more than good insurance coverage. Sending ones child off to college is risk enough.

inspection with testing and proper supervision are essential to gymnastics of any sort. Tom Z


(Interested Friend) #6

Just the other day my spouse and I were commenting on the dangers associated with these types of acrobatics. Should an SDA educational institution engage in such risky activities in which there are definite possibilities of permanent injury?

May the injured recover soon.

In The Grip of Truth


(Randy Givens) #7

I pray for this young lady and her family . It’s always sad when something like this happens.
“That said” Should an SDA educational institution engage in such risky activities ? We can’t stop doing something every time some one gets hurt. We would have never allowed children to drive. But we do even tho it’s one of the leading causes of death of teens. @Tom Z is right SAFTY FIRST.

http://www.adventistreview.org/church-news/union-college-gymnast-badly-injured-in-fall


(Interested Friend) #8

I expected some such rejoinder and it is totally unrelated, logically, with the point I was making.

Acrobatic stunts are inherently dangerous and I doubt any good reason, if we consider our bodies the temple of the Holy Spirit, can be given for SDA institutions to sponsor such activities. If they were terminated I suspect the parents would moan and groan more than the kids.
In The Grip of Truth Not Athletics.


(Randy Givens) #9

So you don’t think a texting teenager driving on a two lane road at 55mph or more. With on coming traffic coming at 55mph possibly driving faster and even more distracted then the first. is as inherently /naturally as dangerous as acrobatics . Statistically I don’t see the logic of your thinking .


(Not azgp) #10

If we are now turning the conversation from encouragement for the people affected to policy, I think it would be relevant to note Union–which just had one equipment failure–is hosting many other colleges this year for AcroFest: https://www.ucollege.edu/acrofest2015

What bothers me is a few years ago (2008 I believe) I heard of a struggle between the student association and the faculty regarding the purchasing of AEDs for the campus. In the end, the students offered to purchase 2 machines if the college purchased 2 as well, however the last I heard this had not yet occurred. The excuse from Union was a single AED existed on campus, and even though it was at the pool in the farthest reaches of campus, they argued that should be enough to save them the ~$400 per AED. Quite upsetting, and tainted my view of Union’s respect for student health.


(Cherry) #11

Seriously?! This is a very scary and sobering incident and all that need to be said is that prayers and support are needed for this student and her family and the school. Why is the conversation being twisted into what some of you wish to rant about…come on guys! Some comments are better left unspoken! There are more appropriate times to discuss safety and regulation and what you believe is wrong with such activities etc.


(Sherlock1) #12

This is very sad and tragic. Gymnastics is scary enough, but the silks hang from the ceiling and mounting them is a careful study if doing it from a rope and harness rather than a scissor lift. Much evaluation is needed to do elevated jobs safely, for instance, being elevated by a rope while you wear a harness is the action but not the safety catch. Another safety catch is necessary in case the lifting action fails (ask a rock climber). Even when using a scissor lift a harness and lanyard are required even though it has a railing.
I can only begin to imagine the pain the parents, friends and educators are feeling for this young lady. I will continue to pray for all.


(Carol June Hooker) #14

Are there any updates?


(Bille) #15

There had been almost daily updates from her family on the CaringBridge website… until January 31… when the note was very brief, just asking for prayers since she was having emergency surgery. Since then there has been no journal entry.

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/heatherboulais/journal

You have to register with the site in order to read it, but once you do, you can see all of the journal entries from the very beginning, as well as responses from viewers.