It was widely reported that cheerleading injuries were the leading youth sports injuries among females. In one report it was stated that cheerleading was more dangerous than high school football. A recent US study refutes these reports finding that injury rates are actually lower than for many other high school sports. However, the study suggests that the accidents that do occur tend to be more severe with concussions being more likely.
Concussions were the most common cheerleading injuries, accounting for about 31 percent of emergency room visits. These injuries were more common during practices when performing stunts. Unlike contact sports, cheerleaders do not wear any protective gear to protect their heads and other parts of the body from falls. They do not always perform on mats or soft surfaces. They may perform on gym floors or solid turf which is unyielding.
Due to the nature of the sport cheerleaders are more likely to fall from high elevations. Flyers doing a stunt may land awkwardly. Bases or spotters may be injured by falling flyers. Pediatrics reported that more than 50 percent of cheerleading accidents happen during stunts. The accident rate increases along with the level. Competitive cheerleading leads to a greater risk through the college level.
Dustin Currie, a public health researcher at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and a team of researchers analyzed data from a national registry of high school sports injuries from 2009 through 2014. The study indicated that there were 1.1 million athletic exposures (AEs) or competitions or practices with a potential for injuries and 793 cheerleading injuries.1 This indicates that the injury rate for cheerleading overall is 0.71 per 1000 AEs. This rate is 63 percent lower than all other high school sports combined and 51 percent lower than all other girls’ sports.
After concussions the most likely types of injuries were ligament sprains, muscle strains and fractures. The most common areas were the head and face, ankles, hand and wrist. 11 percent of those injured were required to refrain from participation for more than three weeks and 5 percent were medically disqualified for the season or ended their career.
Preventing Cheerleading Injuries
To prevent injuries it is important that cheerleaders have trained and qualified instructors. Many cheerleading instructors are former cheerleaders some of which may not have the instruction and safety training to provide adequate safety. Mats should be in place during all practices and performances and medical personnel should be present on the sidelines to monitor for concussions and provide medical care in the event of an accident. Without properly trained instructors, adequate safety equipment or medical personnel being present, the school could be held legally responsible in the case of an injury.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA is a personal injury law firm committed to the safety of all youth activities including cheerleading. While the Federal Court ruled in 2012 that cheerleading is not a sport, that ruling was to uphold Title IX, banning gender discrimination in school activities. The ruling does not negate the fact that proper precautions should be taken to prevent injuries. If a student is injured in any school activity due to the negligence of a coach, teacher, instructor, administrator or anyone else associated with the school, we will hold the school accountable.
If you or your child was injured in cheerleading or any other school activity because of the negligence of another, speak with a personal injury attorney at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today. You may be entitled to receive compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering. Call our office at 727-451-6900.
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