Cheerleading Injuries: Prevention and Safety for Athletes

There is no better time to address the severity of cheerleading injuries than National Cheerleading Safety Month. From minor sprains to severe breaks and head injuries, cheerleading can be a very dangerous sport. If you or your loved one participates in cheerleading, there are a number of facts you need to consider to ensure a safe season.

Identifying an injury sustained during a cheerleading activity as soon as possible will increase the chances of a full recovery. Trying to participate after sustaining an injury can lead to a more severe issue if left untreated. Always consult a physician such as an orthopaedic surgeon to ensure that prompt, appropriate treatment is provided.

Common cheerleading injuries include:

  • Ankle sprains
  • Foot and ankle fractures
  • Neck and back strains including stress fractures of the back and general lower back pain
  • Sprains of the knee
  • Wrist fractures or sprains
  • Elbow pain caused by tendonitis
  • Pitcher’s elbow involving chips of bone flaking off in the elbow joint resulting from bones hitting each other
  • Fractures of the hand
  • Head injuries including concussions
  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears
  • Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) tears
  • Jumper’s knee or patellofemoral syndrome
  • Muscle strains including hip and groin strains

As you can see, the list of cheerleading injuries is very extensive. Some injuries are fairly minor while others could sideline an athlete for an entire season. Obviously, some injuries are unavoidable while others can be completely prevented. The best line of defense against sustaining a cheerleading injury is proper training and techniques.

Preventing cheerleading injuries:

  • Never attempt a new skill without proper instruction and support.
  • Always practice on safe surfaces with adequate padding and free from equipment.
  • Stretch and hydrate before and after practices and events.
  • Be sure to wear braces or other protective gear if you have a previous injury.
  • Wear proper footwear to provide adequate stability.
  • Use spotters when performing stunts.
  • Be sure to have a sports physical to be certain you are in good health before starting a new season.



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