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Cheerleading Leads to Serious Injury

If you've seen Bring It On, then you know cheerleading is serious business. Gymnastic moves and daring lifts are just as important, if not more so, than the symbolic pom-poms. When it comes to serious injuries, cheering is number one and those feats of daring are to blame.

Cheerleading, at both the high school and college levels, was found to cause the majority of catastrophic injuries in a comparison of all sports-related injuries. The study, conducted by National Children's Hospital in Columbus, OH, explains that catastrophic injuries usually involve spinal cord damage, which is indeed serious business.

According to a report released last year by the National Center For Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, injuries sustained by high school cheerleaders in the last 25 years account for just over 65 percent of all catastrophic sports injuries sustained by female high school athletes, and the statistics for college cheerleaders are just as high. This makes women's rugby not seem so rough.

Were you a cheerleader?




Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
kelmorevt kelmorevt 7 years
I have cheered and coached competitively for 20 years. I have been lucky enough not to sustain any serious injuries. Safety is my top priority. Progression and player readiness are two very important aspects that are often overlooked by unqualified coaches. There is a National Federation that sets safety guidelines that all athletes should be following. As with any sport, accidents happen. If the proper precautions are taken, risks will be minimized and serious injuries will not occur.
sweetpeabrina sweetpeabrina 7 years
I'm not a cheerleader but a lot of my students are competition cheerleaders. They practice 5 days a week with a competition on the 6th day. I couldn't deal with that! I don't understand how they have time enough in the day to do homework, practice, eat and have a chance to relax and sleep.
hippiecowgirl hippiecowgirl 7 years
I was a cheerleader for 3 years, but our school district didn't allow lifts of any sort. The only time you were allowed to have more than one foot off the ground was in a "self-propelled" jump. The only injury I suffered was a dislocated knee.
eckielauren eckielauren 7 years
I was a cheerleader for 7 years and had to quit halfway through my senior year of high school due to a sciatica that i developed from being a base over the years. The stunts are EXTREMELY hard on your back and I still have back problems 7 years later! Loved cheerleading though and miss it!
bethinabox bethinabox 7 years
I actually know a girl who died during a cheerleading competition. She was a back spot and got kicked in the chest by the flyer. This was a year ago... It's very sad. Here's an article if anyone's interested:
lollofit lollofit 7 years
It is really surprising to me that there are so many injuries from cheering! Those girls work so hard, it makes me kinda sad that there are so many getting hurt. I know cheering is a part of a lot of women's high school experiences and they should be able to enjoy it with less risk to their future health. Do cheerleaders and dance team members get access to school physical therapists the way students in other sports do?
nobodymuch nobodymuch 7 years
I never cheered, but I was a gymnast. Not that gymnastics is a picnic in its own right, but a ton of time, energy, and money is spent making the sport as safe as possible, and there is significant overlap in the skills and conditoning required. At high levels, cheerleaders do more hard core tumbling and aerial tricks than I would EVER consider doing with essentially no safety equipment. Also, in my admittedly limited experience, I feel that cheerleaders are not spending enough time on conditioning and basic progressions, which worries me even more.
cherryblossom cherryblossom 7 years
sorry i know its an important part of some girls school lives etc, but i just dont know why cheerleading ever had to go past the cartwheels, round offs, and pom pom shaking, i think it works just as well, i mean cheerleading isnt suppossed to be a sport of its own, its suppossed to be to cheer on the real sports teams.
katie225 katie225 7 years
i was a cheerleader for 14 years of my life! and i was a coach for a HS team as well. i saw a few serious injuries, and the worst part was that most of them were preventable. as long as you had a coach who wouldn't let you do stunts or tumbling beyond your ability level, then you'll be safe. and accidents happen in any sport. my coach in HS sprained her ankle really badly just walking on a tumbling mat! the injuries that i still have are bad knees from osgood schlatters disease, which usually goes away after adolescence but hasn't for me. ganglian cysts on my wrists, back pain occasionally. otherwise, i'm a well-rounded woman who went straight to a 4 year university because i had an activity i was committed to (and good grades), i'm still pretty flexible, and i had the time of my life. don't disallow your children from being cheerleaders just because there's some risk!
kia kia 7 years
I was a cheerleader in high school for 1/2 a year. I think the most I was bruised was at cheer camp. I had the wind knocked out of me on only one stunt that didn't go well in practice. And my neck was tweaked for a while from a bad stunt. I also played soccer at the time and that was definitely much safer.
Chrstne Chrstne 7 years
I was in HS and college. I have been injured many times, dropped many times, etc. My knees and wrists will be this was until the day I die, for sure. Way too much strain has caused them to lose their optimal function...I can still move them and what not, they are just weaker now.
mallorycurtis mallorycurtis 7 years
i was a cheerleader in college, and it is very dangerous at that level. your body takes such a pounding from all the tumbling and being thrown in the air. a lot of the people on the team couldn't even cheer all four years because of the toll it takes on the body. cheerleading is serious business!
Merlin713 Merlin713 7 years
I was on the dance team. We were just as hard core as the cheerleaders. Everything minus the lifting they did, but the ways we contorted our bodies in the air on the floor was painful.
fleurfairy fleurfairy 7 years
In high school, I was a flyer and I can't count the number of times I was dropped. Once I was dropped so hard that the wind got knocked out of me for about a full minute. It was really scary.
opentypeA opentypeA 7 years
I was actually, for three months until I seriously injured both knees from all the jumping.
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