As with any sport, safety should be of the utmost concern for all involved in cheerleading. Whether you're a cheerleader, coach or parent, your main objective should be to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
There are many references to safety studies that lead to insinuations that cheerleading is not a safe sport, but regardless of the statistics, one injury is too many. No one wants a broken bone, a day in the hospital, a visit to the ER or a catastrophic injury. Especially when a small amount of common sense can prevent any one of these outcomes.
Simply by knowing why the majority of injuries occur will help you better understand how to prevent them. Armed with these fact you can make certain your squad has an injury free season.
Why Cheerleading Injuries Occur
- Lack of conditioning and not being physically prepared
- Untrained coaches, instructors or advisors
- Poor decision making by instructors or participants
- Risk taking attitudes
- Inadequate supervision
- Inadequate equipment (example: improper shoes)
- Non-cushioned surfaces
- Poor nutrition
- Attempting difficult stunts before being ready
What You Can do to Prevent Injuries
- Adhere to all rules and regulations
- Practice on mats or pads
- Wear well fitting shoes with proper cushion and support
- Have an emergency plan in place and practice it
- Require proper spotting
- Gradually progress to difficult stunts and skills
- Become educated and certified in safety, first aid and CPR
- Require and use the proper techniques
- Learn how to identify eating disorders
- Treat all injuries as soon as they happen
- Increase flexibility
- Strengthen lower back, abdoman and shoulders
- Gradually increase intensity of practice
Know that cheerleading carries some unavoidable risks and no amount of prevention can stop every injury, but with the proper information and knowledge the severity and frequency of injuries can be greatly reduced. Be safe, stay safe.