Over the past few years, evidence has grown to reveal just how dangerous cheerleading truly is
. The public is slowly (but surely) realizing that cheerleading isn't the activity it was 50 years ago. Cheerleaders aren't just waving poms and jumping; they're tumbling, dancing, stunting, and flying. Many of their moves are the same as those performed by gymnasts, which everyone certainly knows can be dangerous and is extremely athletic.
The National Cheer Safety Foundation
has made major strides in publicizing the truth about cheerleading safety and injuries. And particularly in the past year, more and more doctors are voicing their opinion that cheerleading is
a sport and should be taken more seriously as a means to work on preventing injuries.
Due to several released reports, it has now been determined that cheerleading is the most dangerous sport for girls. This was determined based on the shocking fact that cheerleading accounts for two-thirds
of all catastrophic injuries among female high school and college athletes. For every 100,000 high school cheerleaders, 2.68 of them incur a catastrophic injury. While in 1980, there were 5,000 visits in a year to the emergency room to treat cheer injuries, there are now an average of 26,000 a year.
Most cheer-related injuries are minor strains, sprains, and bruises. However, one can't deny there is still a very real chance of a concussion or other traumatic injury
. Doctors generally believe the rise in injuries is from a mix of two reasons: one, that there are now many more cheerleaders than their were even 10 years ago; and two, that cheerleading has become increasingly difficult with more advanced tumbling and stunts being performed.
What exactly does all this mean for cheerleaders and their sport? Now that the reports are out there, more emphasis is being placed on increasing safety measures.
Reported by Sulphur Daily News, Dr. Geoffrey Collins, MD, a sports medicine specialist and orthopedic surgeon, said, "whether you're a cheerleader, coach or parent, your main objective should be to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Knowing why the majority of injuries occur will help you better understand how to prevent them."
Dr. Collins explained that the biggest reasons cheerleading injuries occur are due to "lack of conditioning
, risk-taking choices, inadequate spotting, improper or unsafe equipment, and practicing or performing on non-cushioned surfaces."
One of the easiest ways to prevent injuries can be done by parents. Dr. Collins recommends that parents look into the credentials of their cheerleader's coach. He explains, "don't be afraid to ask about their experience, the safety measures they use, what types of stunts will be performed, who will be supervising every practice, and their plan for handling any injuries that occur."
We've heard a lot of stories like this and we hope that, as more and more are published, the public will begin to take cheerleading seriously and work toward better safety measures to keep cheerleaders safe.
News Source: Sulfur Daily News