As cheerleaders jump and tumble with smiles and yells, more parents are becoming concerned with catastrophic injuries associated with the sport.
Cheerleading injuries include concussions and injuries to the upper extremities. The National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research at the University of North Carolina reports that cheerleading accounted for 65 percent of all catastrophic personal injuries suffered by female athletes.
Often starting quite young, the risk of cheerleading injuries increases as athletes increase the level of difficulty and skill required. Suffering catastrophic injuries like concussions at a young age can affect cheerleaders’ performance at school and overall life. One parent told AZ Big Media that she decided to pull her child out of cheerleading after eight years after noticing concentration problems and drowsiness.
“She was talking funny. She didn’t make sense. She was so out of it. She just wanted to sleep,” the parent told AZ Big Media. “She walked out, she was … Oh God. Her eyes were like … It was like you were looking right through her. It was like she couldn’t even see you.”
Besides concussions, other cheerleading injuries include damage to bones and ligaments. Cheerleaders suffer fractures as well as sprains and strains from tumbling maneuvers. Safety precautions need to be taken by coaches and organizers to ensure cheerleaders are protected from injuries. Mats need to be placed on wooden floors.
Additionally, cheerleaders who suffer injuries need to be checked thoroughly to ensure they haven’t sustained a more serious injury. While football players are subject to an extensive concussion protocol, cheerleaders who suffer head injuries are sometimes cursorily checked for bleeding and sent back to cheer for the rest of the night.
AZ Big Media talked to one cheerleader who suffered a broken nose after being hit by another cheerleader who had been tossed in the air. She said that a trainer stopped the bleeding and she cheered for the rest of the night; unfortunately, the trainer missed that she had broken her nose and it wasn’t until weeks later that her parents realized the problem. At that point, the cheerleader had to undergo surgery to repair her nose.
Parents cite the lack of experienced cheer coaches as part of the problem leading to cheerleading injuries. There is no requirement for training or experience, say parents, and schools don’t realize how dangerous of a sport it can be.
Cheerleading and Catastrophic Injury
A cheerleading injury can lead to a permanent and life-altering medical condition for some of these young athletes. It is important to ensure that fully trained cheer coaches and safe spaces are provided; however, injuries can still occur in the best situations.
Young women suffering from a cheerleading injury need to be encouraged to speak up and let their coach and parents know if something isn’t right after a fall. Coaches and trainers should also thoroughly check injured athletes for more serious conditions.
If you or a loved one has sustained a cheerleading injury that you believe could have been avoided or was exacerbated by unexperienced coaches or unsafe cheer spaces, consider contacting an experienced attorney at Bradley/Grombacher.
Bradley/Grombacher attorneys can help you recover additional medical bills and hold the coach and/or school responsible for putting these young athletes in danger.
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