I had the pleasure of chatting with Ali Wallace, currently Miss Oregon. Early September she will head to Atlantic City to compete in the Miss America Pageant. Ali is a beautiful, smart, young woman who also happens to have an invisible injury that she struggles with every day — a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

In her freshman year of high school, she made the varsity Cheer team. This was a very distinct honor not given to many freshmen. She felt a bit of pressure to keep up with the other girls on her team and would practice her tumbling skills outside of practice.

One afternoon, she was at the dance studio working on her round-off back tuck. She wasn’t comfortable with this move yet, and she became nervous in the middle of her flip, resulting in her falling to the floor. She landed half on the mat and half on the hardwood floor, with the back of her head/upper neck hitting first. Her mom saw it happen and rushed over to assist her.

Read more here.