Those who have never been cheerleaders or had children or other loved ones who were often don’t realize just how much physical strength and coordination it takes – or how dangerous it can be. With cheerleading now an activity in some elementary and middle schools in addition to high schools and colleges, pediatricians are seeing cheerleading injuries among children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) emphasizes the importance of cheerleading coaches taking safety classes and knowing the guidelines and restrictions. That includes having mats and other soft surfaces when cheerleaders are learning new cheers and when they’re competing.
Coaches are responsible for safety concerns
Coaches need to ensure that cheerleaders know how to look after each other. That means learning how to be a spotter. These are crucial with pyramids and partner stunts, but a trained spotter should always be available.
Coaches and their squads also need to practice for emergency situations and know their role if someone is injured. All parents and cheerleaders should be given a written copy of the emergency plan.
Injuries can range from minor to life-changing
Many cheerleading injuries are relatively minor. They can include injuries to wrists, knees and ankles. Head injuries can be much more serious. As with any athlete who strikes their head, cheerleaders need to be removed from the activity immediately and checked by a doctor for a concussion.
Cheerleaders can and have suffered catastrophic injuries, including skull and spinal fractures, when they’ve taken a hard fall or fallen from a height. In some cases, paralysis can result.
If your child has suffered a serious injury during cheerleading practice, while cheering at a game or other event or at a competition, you have a right to know how it happened. Was there proper practice, supervision and compliance with the safety requirements? If not, you may be able to hold the school or other entities or individuals liable. An experienced personal injury attorney can provide valuable guidance and assistance to help ensure that you receive justice and compensation.