March is National Cheer Safety Month

Posted on March 1, 2010

Most doctors and chiropractors will tell you cheerleading is the most dangerous sport around, so there is a lot to discuss concerning safety. This information comes from the 25th Annual Report from the National Center for Catastrophic Injury, which says that more than half of catastrophic injuries in female sports come from cheerleading.

Falls are the most dangerous injury, especially on a hard surface. When a girl is tossed into the air, she’s called a flyer; she can go as high as 15 to 20 feet. The girls beneath her are called bases and are supposed to catch her. When they don’t, however, the flyers can land on gym floors or hard surfaces, taking a direct hit to their neck, head, shoulder, face or any other body part.

Recent science says that surfaces, such as grass, artificial turf or a rubberized track are no safer than wood floors. In fact, the best surfaces on which to do cheerleading are spring-loaded floors or foam mats. The springy floors are standard for cheerleading competitions at the All-Star level where girls as young as five, and into their 20’s as well as boys, fly across the floor in an incredible display of coordination and strength.

The National Cheer and Safety Foundation and the US Sports Academy are developing safety courses and certification for cheerleading coaches. It’s much needed and a little overdue, since until recently, cheerleading was not considered a sport. The annual report is a first step with the next one to educate parents to only allow their children to stunt, and fly and base on a safe surface such as mats and spring floors. Choosing a qualified coach with a background in tumbling or gymnastics who will stress safety and make sure your child undertakes difficult stunts in a logical progression when they are ready while minimizing Florida brain injury and other catastrophic injuries throughout the nation.

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