Most Dangerous Sport for Girls: Cheerleading

With school now underway, parents of teenage and younger girls might want to know about a new report that points to high school cheerleading as the leading cause of catastrophic high school sports injuries.

The report is released by the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research. High school cheerleading accounted for 65.1 percent of all catastrophic sports injuries among high school females over the past 25 years.

That number was at 55 percent in last year’s study. Researchers believe the actual number of injuries was being underreported.

What kind of injuries? Unlike the past, cheerleaders of today resemble Olympic athletes complete with floor routines involving back flips, pyramids, and flying stunts in the air. If these activities are not taught with a competent coach, traumatic injuries will continue to be a growing part of cheerleading.

In college, cheerleading accounted for 66.7 percent of all female sports catastrophic injuries, up from 59.4 percent.

The medical journal, Pediatrics, published the breakdown in 2006:

  • Strains/sprains: 52.4 percent
  • Soft tissue injuries: 18.4 percent
  • Fractures/dislocations: 16.4 percent
  • Lacerations/avulsions: 3.8 percent
  • Concussions/closed head injuries: 3.5 percent
  • Other: 5.5 percent

The new report found that between 1982 and 2007, there were 103 fatal, disabling or serious injuries recorded among female high school athletes. Cheerleading had the most injuries at 67, with gymnastics and track as the second and third most dangerous sports.

Parents need to ask about the training of their coach. Has she/he had gymnastics training? Is there adequate spotting or catching of girls being thrown into the air? If thrown, how high? Are the girls on the ground experienced enough to catch them? Is it mandated that they do? Obviously, there are more girls than ever participating in this popular sport and that may partially explain the increase in injuries. But having a report provides information on a danger that has largely gone under the radar and unrecognized by many schools, coaches, parents and athletes.

If you believe negligence was the cause of you or a loved one’s cheerleading accident, contact the experienced Jacksonville personal injury attorneys at Farah and Farah. We have devoted many years to defending the rights of injured victims and have helped those afflicted by another person’s carelessness receive monetary compensation for their injuries. Call 1-800-533-3555 today for a free consultation.

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