There’s more to cheer than dancing and pom-poms. As you’ve probably noticed at football and basketball games, cheerleading has evolved beyond the herky, to stunts and gymnastics moves that look cool, but can also be extremely dangerous. In fact, the number of cheerleaders admitted to hospitals for an injury nearly doubled between 1990 and 2002 according to a 2006 study published in Pediatrics.
To help protect you from an unnecessary injury, we’ve broken down some of the most common cheer injuries, explain how they can hurt your body permanently and provide you with some tips to safeguard yourself (and your best bud on the team).Check out the guide and then quiz yourself on cheer safety. Because being safe while cheering is always a win!
Quiz: Cheerleading Injuries
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See if you know how to avoid accidents and getting hurt at practice and events.
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Question 1 of 9
What is the most dangerous sport for young women?Correct 1 / 1 Points
Cheerleading is the most dangerous sport according to a study published by the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research. Over the last 25 years, 65.1% of catastrophic injuries in girls have been related to cheerleading.Incorrect / 1 Points
Cheerleading is the most dangerous sport according to a study published by the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research. Over the last 25 years, 65.1% of catastrophic injuries in girls have been related to cheerleading.
Question 2 of 9
Why are the amount of injuries increasing in cheerleading?Correct 1 / 1 Points
Teams are performing more gymnastic-style stunts.Incorrect / 1 Points
Teams are performing more gymnastic-style stunts.
Question 3 of 9
A cheerleading injury can be fatal. True or False?Correct 1 / 1 Points
True. Between 1982 and 2007, 67 of the 103 fatal injuries were from cheerleading according to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research.Incorrect / 1 Points
True. Between 1982 and 2007, 67 of the 103 fatal injuries were from cheerleading according to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research.
Question 4 of 9
Most injuries from cheerleading are sprains, but emergency room visits have increased 110%. True or False?Correct 1 / 1 Points
True. In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, cheerleaders between the ages of 5 and 18 increased 110 percent from 1990 to 2002.Incorrect / 1 Points
True. In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, cheerleaders between the ages of 5 and 18 increased 110 percent from 1990 to 2002.
Question 5 of 9
Which serious injuries are caused by stunts 96% of the time?Correct 1 / 1 Points
Concussions and Closed-Head InjuriesIncorrect / 1 Points
Concussions and Closed-Head Injuries
Question 6 of 9
Which one of these terms is NOT a cheer stunt?Correct 1 / 1 Points
Escalator is not a type of stunt.Incorrect / 1 Points
Escalator is not a type of stunt.
Question 7 of 9
Which body part is injured the most in cheerleading?Correct 1 / 1 Points
The ankle is the most commonly injured body part.Incorrect / 1 Points
The ankle is the most commonly injured body part.
Question 8 of 9
Is there a safe way to perform stunts, two tiered ones specifically?Correct 1 / 1 Points
Yes, a study showed that teams practicing on springboard floors and four-inch-thick mats were less likely to injure themselves. However, for events, grass, turf and wood floors are primary areas were accidents and injury occur.Incorrect / 1 Points
Yes, a study showed that teams practicing on springboard floors and four-inch-thick mats were less likely to injure themselves. However, for events, grass, turf and wood floors are primary areas were accidents and injury occur.
Question 9 of 9
ACL tears only occur among football, basketball and soccer players. True or False?Correct 1 / 1 Points
False. ACL tears can result from trauma in any sport, including cheerleading.Incorrect / 1 Points
False. ACL tears can result from trauma in any sport, including cheerleading.
What are the best ways to stay safe when it comes to cheer? Follow this simple checklist and you'll decrease your team's risk of injury. So, first thing's first, is your coach certified by the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators?
If not, suggest that your coach look into being certified, not only will she/he learn safety standards, management techniques and best of all, links to the cheerleading community.
You coach can become certified easily with the AACCA Safety Course, receiving the benefits that many counties require in their districts and among college teams.
If your coach is already certified, request that she/he pass along the safety standards she has to the whole team. Since many coaches probably talk about ways to be safe, request a written copy of safety regulations and tips for your entire team.
Keeping a copy of the safety standards will work as a good reminder for the whole team. Together you can keep each other from putting any member of the team in danger.
Now that each team member has a copy of the rules and safety standards for your team, make safety each person's number one priority -- and responsibility by signing a contract to uphold safety practices for yourself and your teammates.
Though your coach is the primary person in charge and responsible for the team, it's also you job to do your part when it comes to training properly.
Speaking of training, this is one of the most important tips of all. The team should all learn progressive training techniques, beginning with EVERYONE learning how to spot properly.
Even if you're always a flyer, knowing how to spot and take care of your teammates is one of the fundamental skills all cheerleaders should know.
According to the AACCA, "Spotters are responsible for assisting or catching the top person in a stunt with a priority to protect the head, neck and shoulders of the top person coming off of a stunt."
The association also asserts that cheerleaders should learn a safe progression starting with stretching and tumbling, then moving to gymnastics and finally, stunts.
Maintaining a proper work out schedule incorporating weight training, cardio, gymnastics and flexibility techniques. All of these practices are important to the team's overall safety and fitness when it comes to stunts and the team's overall health as a team.
And, according to the AACCA, coaches should keep track of injuries and properly support the athletes during their recovery process, so as not to bring on further injury.
Remember, if you do not feel ready to do a stunt, or have not fully recovered from a previous injury, you are risking getting hurt or harming a teammate.
Another key element to the safety of your cheer team is practicing in the right facility. Avoid practicing in the school halls, on the grass or on the sidewalk without your cheer coach or instructor.
Most injuries occur when teammates are not practicing in a safe environment with mats and springy wood flooring.
The last thing every team must have is an emergency plan in case there is an accident during practice. Talk to your coach about creating a proper response to an emergency.
And, make sure every member of your team knows the answers to these questions in the even of an emergency.
Who will call 911?
Is there a phone nearby (cell phone and/or land line)?
Are there emergency cards for each teammate with their information available to the paramedics?
Who will meet the ambulance and provide the information about the accident?br> Who will contact the injured athlete's parents?
Once you've developed your emergency plan, make sure everyone is aware of the answers to these questions.