Cheerleaders put in hours of grueling practice to perform amazing athletic feats and to compete in major events. As the sport has gotten more respect and recognition, we’re also recognizing that these athletes face serious injuries and deserve safety measures to protect them. March is National Cheerleading Safety Month and a perfect time to focus on these hard-working athletes.
What Injuries Are Common for Cheerleaders?
Cheerleaders do splits, jumps, and tumbles as well as other challenging motions, and even though they are not technically taking part in a contact sport, this puts them at risk of many serious injuries, including:
- Concussions and traumatic brain injury
- Ligament sprains
- Muscle Sprains
- Back injuries
- Knee injuries
- Wrist and elbow injuries
- Finger and hand injuries
What Can We Do to Prevent Cheerleader Injuries?
Cheerleading can be a demanding sport, but there are several things parents and athletes can do to reduce the risk of injury:
- Build skills gradually. Building fitness and core strength before trying more advanced techniques and maneuvers reduces the risk of sprains and injury. Slowly building on skill sets also ensures athletes know how to do a split or jump safely, for example.
- Reign in the competition. Competition is part of the fun of the sport, but “winning at all costs” can make it easy for injuries to happen because athletes may be tempted to try more daring and challenging techniques. Always compete within your skill level.
- Use spotters. Spotters can help break falls, point out bad form, and otherwise work to reduce injury.
- Hire qualified coaches and trainers. It’s important to run background checks and verify the qualifications of anyone who is coaching or teaching cheerleading. The person should have safety training and someone at each practice should have first aid certification in case an injury does happen.
- Use proper equipment. Mats and other equipment can cushion falls while proper footwear can provide added grip and traction, even on grass.
- Treat injuries before returning athletes to the field. If an athlete has sustained a concussion or another injury, it is important for them to get a medical evaluation and to be cleared for the sport before returning to practice. Returning too soon with a sprain or head injury can make re-injury more likely, and increases the risk of complications if a re-injury happens.
Who Is Liable?
Whether an athlete trains and competes at an event, school, bootcamp, camp, special cheerleading training school, or anywhere else, those who operate the school or organization are responsible for hiring qualified coaches and trainers and for providing a safe environment. If negligence cases an injury, all negligent parties can be held liable, and this can include:
- Camps and training schools
- Makers of athletic or safety equipment
It can be a challenge to find out who was liable or even if you have a claim. Speaking to a personal injury attorney in Miami can help give you insight into your legal rights and options.
What Can I Do If I Have Been Injured or If My Child Has Been Injured?
If you or your child have sustained a sports injury in Miami, contact Flaxman Law Group at 1-866-352-9626 (1-866-FLAXMAN) for a free, no obligation consultation.