Long gone are the days when cheerleading entailed little more than shaking pom-poms and trying to get the crowd at a game to show some enthusiasm and team spirit.
Today’s cheerleaders are involved in complex routines — and, far too often, outright dangerous stunts.
Cheerleading is the major cause of catastrophic injuries in young female athletes
Most people still don’t think of cheerleaders as athletes, but they are. Many train quite hard to perform well in competitions all over the nation. People often underestimate the physical risks cheerleaders face as they seek to impress and entertain the crowds.
The toll of the dangerous stunts that cheerleaders are often asked to perform has led to roughly one death per year from 1991 through 2015. But the really telling statistic is that cheerleading injury rates have about doubled between 2001 and 2012 alone. In fact, roughly 66% of all catastrophic injuries among female athletes at the high school or collegiate level are related to cheerleading.
Competitive cheerleading has captured the attention of Americans for many years now. It’s even been featured in movies and television shows. Few people really understand, however, the risk that young women (and some young men) face from a stunt gone wrong. Spinal injuries from a misguided stunt can easily leave a young person paralyzed. Traumatic brain injuries from hitting the gym floor can destroy a young person’s future.
Doctors have long been calling for better training (including coaches with actual degrees, instead of volunteers drawn from the ranks of former cheerleaders), stricter rules about stunts, improved safety measures and more — but there’s been little progress. Many think it would be better if cheerleading returned to its roots, and stopped the high-stakes hijinks.
If your son or daughter was injured while cheerleading, find out more
A catastrophic accident while cheerleading has vast implications for your family’s future. Talk to an attorney about your options for compensation so that your loved one has the money they need for their care.