Cheerleading accounted for two-thirds of all catastrophic injuries among female high school and college athletes.

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That’s a statistic from this WaPo article, entitled: “Rooting for Safety: Cheerleading Is Risky But Ill-Regulated.” Below are a couple of excerpts:

… Concerns about cheerleading safety arise whenever a high-profile accident occurs. But alarm spiked again this summer when the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, which has been tracking sports safety nationwide for 25 years, reported that cheerleading accounted for two-thirds of all catastrophic injuries among female high school and college athletes.

The total number of “catastrophic” incidents, defined as death or serious injury, such as head or neck damage leading to permanent disability, was relatively small. The center documented just 93 such cases between 1982 and 2007: 67 that occurred among high school students and 26 in college. And although other sports, such as football, produce far more devastating injuries, Mueller, who runs the center, calculated that the numbers translate into a rate of 2.68 catastrophic injuries for every 100,000 female high school cheerleaders, which exceeds the rate for many other high school sports. …

… Part of the problem, [Debbie Bracewell, executive director of the National Council of Spirit Safety and Education] said, is schools do not do a good enough job making sure they hire qualified coaches and pay to keep their training up to date.

“If schools would hire cheerleading coaches as vigorously as they hire football and basketball coaches, you’d see a difference in those statistics,” she said. …

Sounds like the safety of cheerleaders is not of much concern because they are just a bunch of girls.

–Ann Bartow

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