Cheerleading Safety: Fly, Jump and Tumble Safely
Spread the Cheers Without the Tears!
This week we celebrated National Cheerleading Week, while the entire month of March has been designated as National Cheerleading Safety Month.
It is estimated that more than 3 million kids participate in a cheerleading program in the United States, making this one of the most popular school athletic activities in the country. Although not widely recognized as a sport, there is no denying that cheerleading requires serious athletic abilities and rigorous training.
Because of how competitive cheerleading has become, the number of emergency room visits for cheerleading-related injuries has been on the rise. We should note, that due to more rigorous safety regulations the number of serious or critical injuries has been reduced in the last 10 years.
Common Cheerleading Related Injuries
Nonetheless, mild to moderate sports injuries are on the rise, the most common types of cheerleading-related injuries treated at Prestige ER include:
- Ankle Sprains: These are the most common cheerleading-related injuries, typically ankle sprains occur when performing jumps or other stunts where the cheerleader lands on the outside of the foot twisting the ankle inward.
- Knee Injuries: There are different types of knee injuries 1. Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tear which causes sudden knee pain and giving way following a twisting, knock-kneed or hyperextension injury. 2. Overuse Knee Injuries such as patellar tendonitis or Osgood Schlatter disease, these are common in sports that require a lot of jumping and they are characterized by pain just below the kneecap.
- Wrist Injuries: Often the result of falling onto an outstretched hand causing damage to bone and ligaments in the wrist.
- Lower-Back Pain: Stress fractures in the spine such as spondylosis are common in gymnastics and cheerleading where there is a lot of jumping, tumbling and back extension activities.
- Head Injuries: Concussions are the most common head injury treated at our center, these occur when the cheerleader falls and hits her/his head. Because concussions are brain injuries, patients should always be examined by an emergency physician.
How to Prevent Cheerleading Injuries
Preventing injuries in young athletes should be the number one priority of any athletic school program, white rules and regulations are in place to make cheerleading safer, there are some safety tips that both parents, coaches and of course cheerleaders can follow to help prevent injuries, these include:
Skill Development and Progression
Cheerleading coaches need to have a skill development strategy in place, young athletes need to master basic skills before they can move on to more advanced jumps, and stunts. Coaches need to assess the skill level of each cheerleader before allowing them to move on. Both a lack of confidence and a sense of overconfidence can lead to serious injuries in young children.
Cheerleaders should wear comfortable, properly fitting shoes with rubber soles that provide cushioning and support, this will help avoid injuries by providing balance and support to knees and ankles.
The use of braces and cheerleading vest is also advisable, as are landing mats during practice.
Warm Up and Stay in Shape
Before practice and a performance, cheerleaders should do a series of warm-up exercises, they should also stretch after these activities.
Following a healthy diet and joining a strength training program is advisable, this should be followed year-round.
Cheerleading Safety: Follow Your Dreams
At Prestige ER we believe that cheerleading allows our children to soar to unimaginable heights, providing a platform for them to challenge their physical and mental abilities in a fun way. This month we celebrate all the cheerleaders in Plano, Frisco and Allen and encourage them to continue to follow their dreams putting safety first.
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