AAP offers new guidelines to prevent cheerleading injuries
Over the past few decades, cheerleading has evolved from leading the crowd in cheers at football games to a competitive, year-round sport featuring complex acrobatic stunts performed by a growing number of athletes – and as a result the number and severity of injuries from cheerleading has also surged.
In a new policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urges coaches, parents and school officials to follow injury-prevention guidelines, develop emergency plans and ensure cheerleading programs have access to the same level of qualified coaches, medical care and injury surveillance as other sports.
"Cheerleading has become extremely competitive in the past few years, incorporating more complex skills than ever before," said pediatric sports medicine specialist Cynthia LaBella, MD, FAAP, member of the AAP Council on Sports Medicine & Fitness and co-author of the new guidelines. "Relatively speaking, the injury rate is low compared to other sports, but despite the overall lower rate, the number of catastrophic injuries continues to climb. That is an area of concern and needs attention for improving safety."
The policy statement, "Cheerleading Injuries: Epidemiology and Recommendations for Prevention," will be released at a news conference at 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 22, at the AAP National Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans and published in the November 2012 issue of Pediatrics (published online Oct. 22).
Although most high schools and colleges have cheerleaders, only 29 state high school athletic associations recognize cheerleading as a sport, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) does not include competitive cheerleading in its list of sponsored sports. This is important, according to the AAP, because being classified as a sport gives athletes valuable protection including qualified coaches, well-maintained practice facilities, access to certified athletic trainers, mandated sports physicals and surveillance of injuries.
From 1990 to 2003, the number of U.S. cheerleaders age 6 and older increased by roughly 600,000, from 3 million to 3.6 million. Since 2007, there are 26,000 cheerleading injuries in the U.S. annually. Cheerleading accounts for 66 percent of all catastrophic injuries in high school female athletes over the past 25 years.
Most injuries are sprains and strains to the lower extremities, followed by head and neck injuries.
Cheerleading can include fast-paced floor routines and physically demanding skills, including pyramid building and lifting, tossing, and catching athletes in the air. These stunts account for 42 percent to 60 percent of all injuries, and 96 percent of all concussions. Cheerleading is one of the highest risk sporting events for direct catastrophic injuries that can result in permanent brain injury, paralysis or death.
Risk factors for cheerleading injuries include previous injury, cheering on hard surfaces, higher body mass index, performing complicated stunts, and inadequate coaching. As in other sports, cheerleading injury rates increase with competition level and age. Collegiate cheerleaders have a higher rate of injury than middle and high school competitors.
"Most serious injuries, including catastrophic ones, occur while performing complex stunts such as pyramids, according to Jeffrey Mjaanes, MD, FAAP, FACSM, member of the AAP Council on Sports Medicine & Fitness and co-author of the new guidelines. "Simple steps to improve safety during these stunts could significantly decrease the injury rate and protect young cheerleaders."
The AAP makes key recommendations for preventing injuries, including:
- Cheerleading should be designated as a sport in all states, allowing for benefits such as qualified coaches, better access to medical care and injury surveillance.
- All cheerleaders should have a pre-season physical, and access to qualified strength and conditioning coaches.
- Cheerleaders should be trained in all spotting techniques and only attempt stunts after demonstrating appropriate skill progression.
- Pyramid and partner stunts should be performed only on a spring/foam floor or grass/turf. Never perform stunts on hard, wet or uneven surfaces. Pyramids should not be more than 2 people high.
- Coaches, parents and athletes should have access to a written emergency plan.
- Any cheerleader suspected of having a head injury should be removed from practice or competition and not allowed to return until he or she has clearance from a health professional.
Journal reference: Pediatrics
Provided by American Academy of Pediatrics
- New national study finds more than half of cheerleading injuries in US due to stunts Nov 13, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Two-thirds of severe sports injuries to female students due to cheerleading Aug 11, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- High Schools with athletic trainers have more diagnosed concussions, fewer overall injuries Oct 22, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Sports-related kidney injuries rare in high school athletes Jun 18, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Sports physician advises against recreational trampoline use in new AAP report Sep 24, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Learning curve of Electromagnetism?
3 hours ago I'm taking a first year physics course and have been having a little trouble with the basics of newtons laws and forces and whatnot, though nothing...
thin glass in liquid
4 hours ago I have one question about optics because I start interested in it. If an object is placed a distance p from a thin glass lens (index of refraction...
How many joules expended for a push up?
7 hours ago Just wondering if any of you can do the calculation that well approximates the amount of joules expended by a push up.
force to keep the folding doors
7 hours ago Hello, I would like to ask you to calculate the force F, which needed to keep the folding doors in this position. I would like to know what is the...
Confusion regarding direction of kinetic friction on inclined plane.
8 hours ago *please help! * The formula for kinetic friction acting on a sliding body is μkN When the body is sliding with constant velocity down an...
14 hours ago Alright, so in Pathfinder (like Dungeons and Dragons) there's a spell that allows you to lift/move stuff within 25 ft with 5 pounds of force. A...
- More from Physics Forums - Classical Physics
More news stories
Levels of physical inactivity and obesity are very high in children, with fewer than 50% of primary school-aged boys and fewer than 28% of girls meeting the minimum levels of physical activity required to maintain health. ...
Pediatrics May 17, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
Poisonings in young children have increased over the past decade, mainly due to medications in the home. A new study led by the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital, found that medication-related poisonings ...
Pediatrics May 16, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
While considerable recent progress has been made against childhood diarrheal diseases, the number of children dying from diarrhoea remains unacceptably high.
Pediatrics May 14, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
It seems that even for the smallest of people, a gentle massage may be beneficial. Newborn intensive care units (NICUs) are stressful environments for preterm infants; mechanical ventilation, medical procedures, caregiving ...
Pediatrics May 14, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
A study by David Finkelhor, Ph.D., of the University of New Hampshire, and colleagues updates estimates and trends for childhood exposure to a range of violence, crime and abuse victimizations.
Pediatrics May 13, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
An increasing number of U.S. children are experiencing gastrointestinal issues that require interventions to resolve, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
The latest makeover to a massive psychiatric tome honored by some, reviled by others and even called the "Bible" of mental disorders is being released Saturday with a host of new changes.
5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A new case of the deadly coronavirus has been detected in Saudi Arabia where 15 people have already died after contracting it, the health ministry announced on Saturday on its Internet website.
5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Big names in medicine are set to give an upbeat assessment of the war on AIDS on Tuesday, 30 years after French researchers identified the virus that causes the disease.
15 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
16 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
A ground-breaking advance in colonoscopy technology signals the future of colorectal care, according to research presented today at Digestive Disease Week(DDW). Additional research focuses on optimizing the minimal withdrawal ...
7 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0