Give me a “G!” Give me an “O!” Give me a “GO team, GO!”
March is National Cheerleading Safety Month organized by Cheer Safe, and supported by USA Cheer and the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators.
In recent years, cheerleading itself has become one of the most popular, most competitive sports around–rivaling in intensity the sports that the cheerleader’s are actually cheering for.
Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most dangerous.
A comprehensive study from the American Academy of Pediatrics reported that while injury rates for cheerleaders were among the lowest during the years 2009-2014, the injuries tended to be the most severe and catastrophic, citing broken bones, neck and spinal cord injuries, and concussions as the most common.
At Texas Orthopedics, we see plenty of cheerleaders all throughout the year. Typical injuries we treat include fractures and broken bones, ankle and wrist sprains, muscle strains, and shoulder injuries.
If your child participates in cheerleading, at any level, National Cheerleading Safety Month is a good time for reminders on the importance of safety in this demanding sport. Here are a few:
- Follow all proper guidelines for ‘stunting’ as designated by the various national cheer associations (number of spotters needed, height restrictions, and thrower-flyer ratios).
- Always use protective mats on the ground during practice sessions and as much as possible while performing.
- Make sure your team’s coach has certified (and current) national cheerleading credentials.
- Assess weather conditions outside before attempting stunts that involve lifts or jumps on slippery, wet surfaces.
- Adult supervisors should be present at all times when kids are cheering.
- Do not attempt any stunts or movements if sick, weakened, or already injured.
- As with any sport, proper conditioning is helpful in preventing injuries. Focus on lower back and upper body exercise for strength, as well as things like yoga and Pilates to enhance balance, flexibility, and coordination.
If your child suffers an injury while cheering, especially to the head or neck, seek medical attention immediately. For possible broken bones or fractures, visit our Urgent Injury Clinic after hours (when many injuries do occur), where we have complete X-ray, casting, and bracing capabilities on site. No appointment is needed.
(Adapted from Cheer Safe and STOP Sports Injuries)
Keep up with Texas Orthopedics news by following us on Facebook and Twitter (@TexasOrthopedic).