Homestead gymnast showing courage with injury recovery

Homestead junior Yana Weir is coming back after suffering a broken tibia and wrist last season. (By Blake Sebring of

Of all the stories this year about some high school athlete recovering from a traumatic injury, Homestead gymnast Yana Weir might have the most successful rehabilitation which is also continuing to get better.

The week before sectionals last year, then-sophomore landed poorly during a practice dismount on the vault. She rolled her ankle off the edge of the mat, and her tibia snapped just above her ankle and broke a small bone in her foot, meaning she had to watch from the sidelines as the Spartans qualified for the state meet. Then, a couple months later, Weir discovered she had previously suffered a broken a bone in her wrist and that knocked her out of summer conditioning. She had never suffered a broken bone previously during her gymnastics career.

OK, so it’s a broken tibia and a broken foot essentially. Sure, it’ll heal eventually, but consider gymnastics is all about landing. All four events require fearlessness and supreme confidence that participants will be able to trust their feet, ankles and legs when they try to stick landings that conclude with tremendous force. A landing from a vault or a bars routine can start from as high as 15 feet in the air.

That takes real courage.

“It has taken her a while to get it back because she was very nervous in the beginning, very timid,” Homestead coach Jodi Hardwick said. “We just took it really slow. She worked several weeks on just the easy passes so she could make sure her ankle doesn’t hurt or feel any sharp pains on landing.”

The effects were possibly more mental than physical to overcome, but now Weir figures she’s close to 80 percent back to full capability.

“When I came back before the season started back up to work on conditioning with my teammates, it was a challenge to get back into shape, but it was really fun to be back in practice,” Weir said.

She’s still adding some tricks to her four routines and attempting to get to the score potential she was at near the end of last season. Last weekend at Concordia’s Becky Carter Classic, Weir scored an 8.6 on the vault, an 8.425 on the bars, an 8.675 on the beam and a 9.175 on the floor to finish seventh in that event. She scored a 34.875 in the all-around, good for 16th overall.

“I feel like there’s still a lot of skills I should still be improving upon,” Weir said. “Once I regained my strength, it just came down to the mental aspect of it and that’s where my teammates really helped me. They’ve been cheering me on the whole way and they are the reason I’ve gotten back to where I have.”

But actually, while her teammates have encouraged Weir, she has inspired them. Remember, this is already a top 10 team which could challenge for the regional title by the end of the season, and Weir’s improvement helps them all by pushing them for the lineup’s top spots.

“She’s done such a good job of working to get all the skills that she had back in time for competition season,” senior Catherine Milne said. “She’s just getting better with each passing meet. It’s just fantastic to watch. There are a certain number of spots on the competition team and none of us want to lose those spots. If she comes back strong, so does the team, too.”

Last year, Weir had a high all-around score of 35.70, and she’s already gotten up to 35.075 early this season.

“She deserves a lot of credit for coming back so strong, and she’s only getting better with each practice,” Hardwick said. “I can’t wait to see how she ends up this year and how much she contributes to the team.”