Many people don’t consider cheerleading a sport, but according to the United States Sports Academy, 65.2 percent of all catastrophic injuries in youth sports occur in cheerleading. Sure, it depends on what type of cheerleading you’re doing whether or not you get hurt. If you are involved in stunting then you run the risk of getting seriously injured, especially if you are the flier, the girl getting tossed into the air.
In cheerleading, the risk of you getting injured isn’t very high, but if you do get hurt then there is a large chance it will be a very serious injury. To help minimize the chances of having an accident here are a few tips to keep you safe.
This can’t be stressed enough, always take the time to properly stretch before practices and performances. If you don’t stretch, your muscles won’t be loose, and if your muscles aren’t loose then you risk the chance of pulling something that wasn’t ready to move the way you wanted it to.
Building up your core muscles is so important. If you are a flier, the tighter you are the easier it is for you to balance and for your bases to catch you. If you are the base or back spot of a stunt you need to have the muscle power to be a solid foundation for a lift and a smooth landing during a catch. The best way to ensure that everyone is performing at optimum power is to exercise.
This is especially important when your team is learning a new stunt. Always have extra hands standing close by as a new stunt is being learned. These people are to ensure that if something goes wrong, there will be someone nearby to help catch the falling flier.
There is no excuse for not using a mat during practice. Cheerleading is one of the few sports where more injuries happen during practice than performance. It doesn’t take much extra time to pull out the mats and it could save you from unnecessarily getting hurt.
Because cheerleading is not recognized as an actual sport many schools put it as a back burner priority. Often, they hire a member of the staff who has little to no personal experience with the activity. This is a recipe for disaster. Training girls to do dangerous stunts while they actually can be problematic when have no idea what they’re doing. Schools need to take the time to find and hire a coach who can teach the girls proper safety. These techniques can help avoid injury.
If you are the coach, then you should know what the local sports medicine options are for your cheerleaders. If something does go wrong and one of your cheerleaders gets hurt you’ll know who to suggest they visit so they can be properly treated for their injury.
Cheerleading is a fun and engaging activity that can be the highlight of a high school or college career. But, it isn’t worth permanently destroying your body. Always cheer safe and cheer smart to avoid getting hurt. And don’t forget to have fun!