According to some studies, cheerleading is one of the most dangerous competitive sports currently pursued in high schools and colleges across the country – yet, in many locations, it’s not as vigorously regulated as other sports. This means that cheerleaders are at increasing risk of suffering catastrophic brain, spinal cord, and other injuries, without the same regulations and oversight that protect many other athletes.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), cheerleading injuries have increased in recent decades, as the stunts needed to stay in the sport’s top ranks have become more dangerous. In 1980, the CPSC received 5,000 reports of cheerleaders who required hospital care for cheerleading-related injuries; by 2011, that number had risen to 38,000.
The average age of cheerleaders who suffer catastrophic injuries has also gone down, as more teens and younger cheerleaders have tried to mimic the high-flying routines of the “all-star” teams without proper coaching or safety equipment. Teens who suffer an accident in a cheerleading routine – where some members of the team may be thrown up to 20 feet in the air while relying only on their teammates to catch them – may experience catastrophic injuries, including traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries.
Since 1979, 307 cheerleaders have died nationwide, according to The National Cheer Safety Foundation, and the sport accounts for 66 percent of all injuries suffered by female athletes in high schools.
With proper coaching and safety equipment, many in the sport believe cheering can be done safely. Without these safeguards, however, serious injuries can result. If you or someone you love has been injured pursuing a sport they love, contact experienced Kentucky injury attorney Tad Thomas to learn more about your legal rights.