In fact, the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research at the University of North Carolina reports that 65.2% of all catastrophic injuries in youth sports occur in cheerleading, and the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that over a 27-year period, cheerleading was responsible for 65% of catastrophic injuries to female high school athletes. Cheerleader falls from gymnastic-type stunts have been reported to have a greater impact than being tackled by a professional football player, which is why proper coaching and safety regulations are imperative.
Cheerleading injuries such as knee stress, sprained ankles, strained back muscles, torn ligaments or fractures can occur from repetitive jumping or flipping or improper landing from stunts or back handsprings, says HSS physical therapist Candace Young, PT, DPT, SCS, CSCS. Also, serious head injury can occur if a person falls from a pyramid or if a flyer isn’t properly caught from a basket toss.
To reduce the chance of injury, Young recommends that cheerleaders make the below steps part of their regular routine.
If you sustain an injury while cheerleading, contact the appropriate medical personnel and seek advice. Follow the principles of the RICE method (rest, ice, compression and elevation) immediately following the injury.