The fast tempo and raw force of ballroom dancing make for quite a show but can also put the dancers in some pretty dangerous situations. Dancing with the Stars' Melissa Rycroft experienced the danger firsthand when she injured her neck, which she recounted after the show on Monday evening.
Rycroft revealed that during her rehearsal with professional dancing partner Tony Dovolani on Sunday afternoon her shoes caught on the ground when she was sliding through his legs, which caused her neck to whiplash. Due to the fragility of neck injuries, she underwent some serious precautionary procedures, including being carted to the hospital on a stretcher.
"I heard it pop several times. It cracked," she said of her neck. "It literally felt to me like my head feel backwards...Immediately, everyone's then [telling me], 'Lay down. Don't move. Don't touch it,'"
The reality TV personality and TV host, who was once a cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys football team, revealed that adrenaline helped numb the pain while she was on the dance floor on Monday.
"It was 100 percent adrenaline. The music goes on [and] our first move is a head nod and I went, 'Oh! There [the pain] goes!' Rycroft said, "and then you just do it. I mean, was holding back a little bit...but the fact that five hours ago we weren't even cleared to dance [and] that we could go out there and do it, I'm just relieved and happy."
While her injury was fortunately not too serious and will be eased with the help of anti-inflammatory drugs, her fellow Dancing cast members that witnessed the accident were taken aback by the sight of her injury and its aftermath.
"It was scary," said Shawn Johnson. "She did...a move and tweaked her neck but it wasn't like she got dropped; it wasn't a big accident, but just the precautionary [measures of] calling the EMT, getting her on a stretcher, [and] having a neck brace--that was the scary part of it."
Cheryl Burke, who is paired with Emmitt Smith for the All-Stars season, noted the correlation between Rycroft's injury and Dancing's physically and mentally demanding schedule, which has caused a tangible sense of fatigue among the cast.
"She's a person who's probably never done that many lifts before, so you're always taking your own risk and it's also the double rehearsals we have now," she said. "We're all exhausted. This is at the halfway point, where [we can feel it in] our bodies [and] our level of patience isn't as great as it was in the beginning...This is the point in the competition where we're all like, 'I can't do it' physically or mentally."
Dancing with the Stars continues at 8 p.m. on ABC.