Is cheerleading too dangerous?

By: Kevin Hurd Email
By: Kevin Hurd Email

(WEAU) -- The Chippewa Falls Middle School Cheer team is back on the field this season after a 13 year hiatus.

The idea is the same, but over many years, the way teams cheer has been changing. Taking on more stunts that require a lot more training.

"Shoulder sits, to the thigh stands, to the elevators, to the hitches," said Shawn Hamman, who is the Chippewa Falls Middle School Cheer team coach.

Most of the names you probably do not recognize, but each year put 30,000 cheerleaders on average in the hospital.

Knowing the numbers, certified Coach Shawn Hamman says there are a lot of rules cheerleaders follow.

"There's counts to them, specific ways to do them for safety," she said.

And she says, if students grow tired of one stunt or are not getting it, they will move on to another. Many of the students are cheering for the first time.

"You feel scared at first, but as you get practicing inside on the mats, you don't get scared as much," said cheerleader Abby Staves.

"You have to be really balanced because if you move your arms all around, you could fall," said cheerleader Megan Moucha.

It is the type of sport that takes team trust, and takes following directions, to a whole new level.

"Your back base is in control so whatever they tell you to do you have to do it," said cheerleader Savannah Skora.

Over in Eau Claire, a group of girls are practicing for competition at Chippewa Valley Spirit. Their coach, Tara Krista, has been involved with cheer for 13 years, and has seen it all.

"We've had some concussions, pulled muscles, and some severely sprained ankles," she said.

But she says certified teachers help students understand the basics to stay safe.

"They know the proper techniques to teach stunting and tumbling," she added.

And it is fully understanding the basics that are the building blocks to cheering and stunting safely.


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