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Cheerleading & Safety

Anyone who has been following Chearleading’s current trend understands that injuries are becoming a major problem. From 1990-2002, research has shown injuries in cheerleading to have doubled (This is with an 18 percent growth). Also, a study published in the journal Pediatrics estimates 208,800 young people ages 5 to 18 were treated at U.S. hospitals for cheerleading-related injures during the 13-year period. Most of the injuries were suffered by 12- to 17-year-olds; nearly 40 percent were leg, ankle and foot injuries.

How have these injuries increased so much in 13 years? The two reasons are increased acrobatic skills and lack of knowledge. Cheerleading has gone way past doing mainly cheers and chants. Now it has moved into doing complex tumbling passes and various acrobatic lifts (stunting). As always, as the skill level goes up, the risk of injury follows.

Unfortunately, the skill level is risng while the knowledge of proper safety requirements is falling. There is a general lack of information out there for coaches and their cheerleaders. For example, look up coaching football in a book store and you will see a great variety of books at your disposal. Do the same for cheerleading and the selection becomes limited. Even worse, most cheerleading books do not stress the importance of safety enough.

Do to these limited resources, many coaches and cheerleaders wind up trying to replicate a tumbling pass or acrobatic lift (stunt) they saw somewhere else. This leads only to an increased risk of failure and injury. Every tumbling pass and acrobatic lift (stunt) has its required technique and spotters (the people who insure the safety of the participant).

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