For D’Charya Frazier, many would have sensed that her freak incident in her Kindergarden classroom a couple of years ago essentially was one that was waiting to happen.
Fortunately for the young D’Charya, such a seemingly devastating occurrence has benefited her mightily.
At the tender age of five, D’Charya had to be rushed to a nearby Memphis hospital’s emergency room after her frail, 4-foot-1, 60-pound frame had become injured amid a tumbling routine.
Fortunately for D’Charya and her family, a rather bizarre development took place while she was being tended to by doctors.
According to D’Charya’s mother, Cheryta Frazier, one medical expert suggested that because of the nature of her daughter’s injury, she should sign her up for gymnastics.
The rest, as they say, was history.
Approximately one month prior to her sixth birthday, D’Charya’s parents had enrolled her in Memphis’ U-Tumble Gymnastics run by Mid-South-area owner and coach Jenice Spillman Hill.
“D’Charya was grasping skills so fast and didn’t have any fear,” Cheryta Frazier told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson during a recent interview. “Coach J said she was a natural and had a gift that will take her to great places.”
Consequently, after steadily witnessing their child blossom and brave the growing pains of her new sport, Cory and Cheryta Frazier switched her to nearby Collierville’s GymStars Gymnastics And Jr Olympic Training Center.
Nowadays, it seems that D’Charya — this vibrant, energic youth athlete was years ago was seem lying helplessly on a stretcher amid a freak classroom incident — isn’t showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon.
If nothing else, it’s safe to assume this Robert R. Church Elementary student and seven-year-old amateur phenom is destined to make her presence felt on this ever-so-emerging gymnastics circuit.
In this, her first full year of competing, D’Charya has been nothing short of impressive, although her rise as a youth athlete has come to fruition primarily within the parameters of Tennessee and Mississippi.
According to her mother, D’Charya’s most memorable display took place in a local event weeks ago. That’s when the young D’Charya — showing virtually no signs of rust or inexperience — turned it a masterful showing that ultimately allowed her to come away with a first-place finish as well as an all-around Xcel Bronze medal.
“What I want people to know about me is that I love this sport and wouldn’t trade it for nothing in the world,” said D’Charya, who trains roughly two hours per week and matches that workout total on weekends. “I love trophies and one day I want to make history.”
If, by chance, she makes history, she’ll do so while battling a rather disheartening, sometimes discouraging physical challenge.
Born with what her mother described as “several spots” on her brain, D’Charya was ultimately diagnosed with absence seizures or a developmental delay.
According to mayoclinic.org, absence seizures involve brief, sudden lapses of consciousness. Generally, they are more common in children than adults. Someone having an absence seizure may look like he or she is staring into space for a few seconds.
Also, this type of seizure usually doesn’t lead to physical injury, according to a spokesperson for Mayo Clinic. Absence seizures, in fact, usually can be controlled with anti-seizure medications. Some children who have them also develop other seizures, but many children outgrow absence seizures in their teens.
“This child basically couldn’t walk or talk,” Cheryta Frazier explained. “We communicated with her by learning baby sign language. I refused to do surgery because of my faith. You and I are able to witness how God is showing her favor. He leaves me speechless.”
Among the reasons the Fraziers admittedly are often brought to tears as it pertains to D’Charya — their prized possession, of sorts — is that this young rising athlete is undoubtedly defying the greatest of odds, all while savoring the very sport she has come to love.
That, after all, is no accident, although her admiration for gymnastics came courtesy of a freak incident.
The rest, as they say, is history.
“The sky is the limit for her because she knows where she’s going and what she wants and doesn’t let her diagnosis determine her destination,” Cheryta Frazier.
Talk about harboring a champion’s mentality.
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Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.