Cheerleading Injuries: Statistics, Common Injuries, Risk Factors, Prevention Tips

“They live because they take risks with fascination.” Something marvelous, something real impressive for people who watch the exclusive sporty act of Cheerleading. Cheerleaders are those wonderful athletes who lift each other in the most disciplined & extremely competitive sport of Cheerleading. Here is where the most renowned saying comes, “Athletes lift weight, Cheerleaders lift people!” The demanding gymnastics involves a great deal with the most stunting activities and extreme tumbling where one cheerleader supported with one or more cheerleaders. This out of common sport might look entertaining, exciting to the spectatators, but in real these athletes involved with the cheerleading act have a great risk to their body, meet with surplus number of cheerleading injuries in their due course of cheerleading span and also many of them meet with an end to their life. The current article will revolve around with the most passionate Cheerleaders where we will put our focus light on the Risk factors involved with cheerleading as well as the preventive guidelines available for the cheerleaders who have deigned their life taking risks with passion.

Cheerleading Injuries

Cheerleading Injury Statistics: Know The Life & Health Status Of The Cheerleaders!

Cheerleading is a form of gymnastics having a major percentage of athletic demands with the greater involvement of stunting acts, tumbling and higher risks where the athletes or the cheerleaders lift each other in an extremely appealing manner. Though the whole act of sports look immensely stunning, shows a kind of cheers for flying high with sparkling colors, there is an equivalent dark story underneath. This sport of Cheerleading has been recorded as the most dangerous sports for the women athletes where the cheerleaders are known for having a high percentage of catastrophic injuries.

Cheerleading carries the highest percentage of sports injury, especially in the female sportspersons. Research studies on Cheerleading injuries have been done since long. Many sports injury studies have been reviewed to find out the real scenario of the cheerleading injury statistics. A review done of the number of sports injury occurred from the year 1982 to 2002; shows that out of 39 injuries, 29 athletes who were injured were the cheerleaders. It was also found that about 18 of the catastrophic injuries occurred in 27 injured cheerleaders during this time had the injuries on head. Statistics from last year shows that about 55% of the Catastrophic injuries in high school girls come from the Cheerleading sports. Studies have shown that two third of all the catastrophic injuries in women athletes are linked to the cheerleaders. Apart from the Catastrophic injuries, cheerleading also have risks for the Concussion. In a 11 year study of prospective multiple sports study taking 25 high schools, it was found that about 4.9% of the cheerleading injuries reported concussion. Studies from 2013 shows that about 62% more women showed an increased symptom in concussions on the PCS or post-concussions symptoms scale when compared to their own baseline within a time span of 7 days of the injury. So, as a whole while looking at the statistics, it can be concluded that Cheerleading is linked to the highest number of catastrophic injuries and are also reported with the Concussion; especially in the female athletes.

Cheerleading: Common Injuries & Risk Factors! Know The Risks The Cheerleaders Take For Life!

A common proverb for the cheerleading teams comes, “We do not play games. Cheerleading is much more than a game.” Cheerleading is such an act of honor, trust, strength and passion of hard word; that cannot be explained with mere words. There are risks involved, and that is where it stands lively. It is very true that cheerleaders have an intimate affair with their risks and their style; and that makes them stand out from the common. However, when we look at the common life of these unique sportsperson, we get to know the risks which they have to take on their life everyday on cheerleading is something that is very much more than just the risk involved in a game. Let us look below some of the most common injuries and risk factors these cheerleaders have to meet with.

  • Cheerleading involves repeated tumbling, which puts a great pressure on the spine and can lead to the stress fractures in the spinal cord
  • Repeated tumbling with the growing stress on the growth plates at wrist, ankles, elbow, knee etc. can result in traumatizing these vulnerable parts. 
  • There are high jumps involved in the cheerleading act. Many times the cheerleaders have risk of ligament tear or damage while landing from the jumps in odd positions. The ACL or the Anterior cruciate ligament in knee have the highest risk of strain with an off-balance landing from jump.
  • Though the ankle and knee sprains are most common injuries in cheerleading, the most dangerous cheerleading injuries of concern are the injuries to head and neck.
  • The head injuries with cheerleading acts include the skull fractures, hematoma or cerebral hematoma etc.
  • The highest risk involved with cheerleading is the death of an injured athlete with serious catastrophic injuries, especially the spine, neck & head injuries

Cheerleading Injuries Prevention Tips!

“We do not sweat, we sparkle!” The famous saying from the astonishing cheerleaders describes all about their will power, their confidence, their strength and above all their way of enjoying while taking the risk. Let these attitudes from the most amazing sportsperson remain intact. Here are some of the preventive measures meant for the cheerleaders.

  • Make sure you are stretching the upper and lower extremity muscles along with the back muscles, before and after any activity. Make a note to hold the stretching for about 30 seconds and do the same for at least 3 times.
  • There must be an inclusion of both the stationary and the dynamic activities in the balance training exercises.
  • Core exercises involving the abdomen, back and hip muscle exercises; must be regularly done so as to keep the core strong and prepared. 
  • There must be an awareness of the athletic position landing, while landing from high jumps in cheerleading. It must be made sure your knees and hips are acting as the shock absorbers. Keep the shoulders over the knees and the knees over the toes. Make a check that the knees are not collapsing towards each other.
  • There must be a break for rest from the repeating tumbling activities. Cheerleaders must not do these tumbling acts everyday.

“Work hard, Cheer hard!” This is what the cheerleaders do the sport they have devoted themselves. They work hard, they keep their focus and they do wonders. In order to keep these wonderful personalities safe from losing to their life; here are some of the guidelines which the reports from AAP council for sports medicine & fitness suggest.

  • Cheerleading needs to be recognized sports in all states, with the proper medical care facilities, facilities of the qualified cheerleading coaches to train the cheerleaders etc.
  • All the cheerleaders taking part in cheerleading must have PPE or the pre season physical examinations.
  • These athletes must be trained to their best of professional skills and only then the promising stunts must be attempted,
  • The base and the spotters used in the cheerleading programs must have enough upper body and core strength so as to support the flyers in a fair manner.
  • There must be an access to written emergency action plan for the cheerleaders, the coaches and the parents.
  • Any sportsperson taking part in the cheerleading, if suspected to have head injury, must be removed from the practice as well as from the competition or the program till he/she gets a clearance certificate of the health.

A Salute To The Amazing Cheerleaders Of The World: Honoring The Leaders Of Life!

They say, “The only humans that can fly are the cheerleaders!” With the sports having highest rate of danger for athletic injury, these cheerleading women shine high. They fly high for they do not keep themselves down in the fear of falling. Cheerleading is still not taken as a sanctioned sport and considered as a club sport without much medical care or fitness facilities. As a honor to the game of wonder, and to the wonderful sportsperson it must be an act of priority to make cheerleading a sanctioned sport and pay the respect these brave hearts actually deserves.

They cheer and the live as cheer princess!

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 6, 2018

Recent Posts

Related Posts