As cheerleaders begin to return to practice, there are some important safety tips to remember. Cheerleading is a potentially high risk sport and it involves extensive and consistent training.
Participation in cheerleading ranges from young kids through collegiate athletes. The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) estimates approximately 400,000 students participate in U.S. high school cheerleading annually, including competitive squads.1 Cheerleaders can be found at the elementary, junior high, high school, and collegiate levels as well as at park districts or private competitive gyms. Cheerleading squads can be all-girl or co-ed.
The overall injury rate in cheerleading is lower than in other high school girls sports.2 Similar to most sports, cheerleading injury rates increase with age and competition level, with collegiate cheerleaders having the highest rates overall.2 The overall most common injury mechanism in cheerleading was found to be contact with another person and contact with the playing surface.1 The activities with the most injuries include stunts, tumbling and pyramids.1
Research shows that bases or spotters may have higher rates of injury compared to flyers.1,3 Bases typically have to lift, catch or toss other athletes, plus they also have the risk of a person landing on top of them or having a knee or elbow hit them as they try to catch the flyer contributing to their increased injury rate.
If you are concerned about an injury from cheerleading, visit your closest Athletico clinic for a free assessment. Assessments are available in-clinic and virtually through our Telehealth platform.
The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.
1. Currie DW, Fields SK, Patterson MJ, Comstock RD. Cheerleading Injuries in United States High Schools. Pediatrics. 2016;137(1)
2. Labella CR, Mjaanes J. Cheerleading injuries: epidemiology and recommendations for prevention. Pediatrics. 2012;130(5):966-71.
3. Shields BJ, Fernandez SA, Smith GA. Epidemiology of cheerleading stunt-related injuries in the United States. J Athl Train. 2009;44(6):586-94.