Broken to healed

A sophomore’s journey from an accident to a career


Photo provided by Ashley Newman

Newman (middle row left) poses with her cheer friends for a photo. This was before her accident.

When sophomore Ashley Newman entered high school, she had high expectations for her future: make good grades, join clubs, and become a varsity cheerleader. But when she broke her arm at practice in August of 2016, her world seemed to shatter with it. She couldn’t cheer anymore and would have to go through a major surgery. In a split second, Newman lost everything she had worked hard to accomplish.

Newman has been cheering ever since she was young, but joined the cheer team at school her freshman year. She was a part of the team in 2016, but she shattered her arm during a stunt at a practice in late August. She had surgery last winter, and was told that she would never be able to do cheer again. Although Newman said she was crushed by the news, she discovered her passion for singing, specifically on the app YouNow, a broadcasting app that allows her fans to donate money to her career. Newman has over 1,600 fans on the app, and many of the viewers contribute to funding for her hopes for a career.

“[Hearing the news] was very hard because [it meant] I wouldn’t be able to finish my goal of winning the worlds [competition] before I aged out of the program,” Newman said. “It has also become a lot harder to do normal things like straighten my hair or write long paragraphs.”

Before the accident, Newman spent the majority of her spare time cheering, but she also found an interest in singing.

“Ever since I was little, I wanted to be like Hannah Montana,” Newman said. “I have always loved to sing and perform for people. I would say that singing was a priority in my life, but I was definitely focused more on my cheer career.”

When Newman discovered she would no longer be able to cheer, she turned to music as a way to cope with the news. Newman said her faith is a big part of why she chooses to sing because it’s a gift she can use to teach other people about the gospel.

“Even though I was disappointed, singing and music has taught me to express my personality and style in a way that [spreads] positivity and love to others,” Newman said. “I love to sing because it is a place that I can glorify the Lord.”

While Newman’s life is different because of the accident, she said she loves how her life has turned out.

“It has been super cool to come home and be able to broadcast where thousands of people can help me with homework, or tell me what songs to sing,” Newman said. “It is [awesome] to see an audience behind me supporting what I do and spending money to help me further my career.”

Newman’s friends and family supported her decision to shift her focus toward music, and Newman said they are her biggest fans.

“I’m so proud of how Ashley worked to achieve her goals,” Linda Newman, Ashley’s mother said. “She could have quit after losing cheer, something she truly loved, but instead she figured out another way to go after her dreams.”

Newman’s friend, sophomore Braden Galvan, said he is also proud of Newman and her steps toward accomplishing her goal, even when things seemed difficult.

“Ashley is very committed to what she loves,” Galvan said. “If she wants to learn something, she’ll pursue it and find the answer. Ashley is truly devoted to singing and loves every part of it.”

While cheer was a big part of Newman’s life, she said she wouldn’t change what happened to her arm, because it opened the door to her passion. Newman said she is a firm believer in making the most of every situation, good or bad. She said even though breaking her arm seemed to be a dark experience, she found her passion out of the situation.

“If you have a goal, don’t stop trying until you reach that goal,” Newman said. “It takes hard work, sleepless nights and time but in the end when you have reached your goal, it will be worth it. Don’t give up, keep striving.”