Author: Niki L. Carayannopoulos, DO
Did you know that cheerleading participation has been on the rise since 2013? Participation in the U.S. has grown from 3.24 million in 2013 to an all-time high of 4.03 million in 2016, according to Statista. As participation rates increase, so does the number of cheerleading injuries seen here in Houston and throughout the United States.
An infographic from Globe Life provides some critical information about cheer injuries. Parents and cheerleaders alike should take a moment to look over this infographic and consider advocating for sport recognition.
Classifying Cheer As a Sport
Did you know that cheerleading is classified as a sport in just 29 of the 50 states? Or that the NCAA does not recognize cheer as a sport? Many participants, parents, coaches and medical professionals are advocating for cheerleading to gain recognition as a sport. This would allow for cheerleaders to receive the same level of training and medical care as other athletes. Additionally, having official “sport” classification would help ensure qualified coaches, well-maintained practice facilities, mandated sports physicals, access to certified athletic trainers and surveillance of injuries.
Fast Fact About Cheerleading Injuries
- Last year, nearly 37,000 cheerleaders visited emergency rooms.
- Direct catastrophic injuries (closed-head injuries, skull fractures and cervical spine injuries) are 4x higher than in 1980.
- Concussion rates rose 26% between 1998 and 2008.
Did You Know: Cheerleading Is the Leading Cause…
…of catastrophic injuries after football (in high school sports)! Among catastrophic injuries from 1982 to 2011, cheerleading accounted for…
- 71% of college female athlete injuries
- 65% of high school female athlete injuries
What Can You Do?
In addition to advocating for cheerleading being classified as a sport, parents and cheerleaders can familiarize themselves with some basic safety precautions and self-care practices – especially when it comes to head injuries. Given that high school girls are 56% more likely to suffer concussion than high school boys, safety and education can’t be emphasized strongly enough. Explore these concussion-related infographics on the Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics Blog:
See a Houston Sports Doctor for Cheerleading Health & Safety
For more information about how a sports medicine professional could partner with you in your health, schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics. Call (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment online.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.