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Cheerleading Injuries double over 13 year span

By: Sean Towle
By: Sean Towle

According to a Pediatrics Journal, injuries from cheerleading doubled from 1990 to 2002.
Part of it is due to cheerleading evolving from a spirit activity to one requiring gymnastics skills and athleticism.
But the study also indicates a lack of trained coaches and proper facilities is also a factor.
Cheerleading is not exactly what it used to be and injuries do occur. That's why coaches must take certain steps to keep them to a minimum.
Cheerleading is not for the weak.
"It's definitely a sport," said Chippewa Falls High School Cheerleading Co-Captain Laura Pritchard.
The Chippewa Falls High School competition cheerleading squad practices at least 2 hours a day -- 6 days a week, and just like any other sport, they have to deal with injuries.
"We have some things mostly minor, like ankles, knees," Chippewa Falls High School Co-Head Cheerleading Coach Tara Krista.
The increase of injuries in the sport over the past 13 years, is partly due to the sports' evolution.
"There are a lot more stunts that are quite difficult and take a lot of practice to do. It's not easy," Krista said.
With all the other sports, many cheerleading squads don't have a set place to practice those stunts.
"Part of that happens because not everyone has a place to practice. Today we're in the wrestling room or we could be at the elementary school," Krista said.
Chi-Hi's team always has their mat, to help with safety, but not all schools do.
The Pediatrics Journal also cites non-uniform standards for coaching as possible injury causes. For example, at Chi-Hi, the coaches have been trained along different criteria.
"In Wisconsin there are no criteria to coach, but my assistant and I are both certified I'm UCA and she's NCA," Krista added.
Krista adds that they go to coaching clinics during the summer and have safety videos they show the squad each year to help prevent injury.
However, just like football or hockey, injuries happen in sports and there's not much that can be done to prevent it.


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