Some people may argue that cheerleading isn’t a sport, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a dangerous activity that leads to many injuries every single year. From acrobatics to mid-air tosses, there are a lot of opportunities for cheerleaders to hurt themselves. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a new set of guidelines for coaches and school officials to follow in an attempt to prevent unnecessary injuries.
One of the co-authors of the AAP guidelines says that hospitals have been seeing a major increase in the number of cheerleading injuries each year. This is partially because there has been a huge increase in the number of cheerleaders in America in recent years. As more and more teens start to get into the activity, it facilitates more injuries. One of the main concerns is that few schools and universities consider cheerleading a sport. Because of this, cheerleading isn’t technically subject to the same rules and regulations that all official sports are. Coaches can get away with compelling their cheerleaders to do dangerous stunts, and won’t be punished if the stunts result in injuries.
One doctor told ABC News that because cheerleading is considered a club sport it gets haphazard in terms of coaching qualifications or safety nets. Physicians are trying to encourage schools to consider cheerleading a sanctioned sport so that they can increase the acceptability into good medical care after an injury, require qualified coaches, mandate the use of adequate facilities and allow injury surveillance in schools. The AAP has also encouraged schools to set limits as to how high their pyramid formations can be and what surfaces stunts can be performed on.
As well, the AAP has recommended that all cheerleaders submit to a pre-season physical to make sure that they are healthy to perform their stunts and that they are given better training before being told to perform dangerous feats. The injuries that are most common in cheerleading are ankle and knee sprains, but doctors say that more people are coming into the emergency room with a neck injury or a traumatic brain injury after falling in a cheer accident. Most of the time, these tragedies occur when the cheer members drop their flier by accident, or when a pyramid crumbles. The fliers and cheerleaders that are often on the top of formations are at greater risk of injury than the other participants.
You Have Legal Options
If you have been injured in a cheerleading accident, then you may be able to sue the school or the coach that encouraged the dangerous stunt. Contact a personal injury lawyer at Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers if you need more information about litigating a cheer accident. You may be able to obtain damages for your pain and suffering, medical costs, and lost wages from missing a job.