Cheerleading Competitions; Keep Them Safe
Cheer Can Be Dangerous
Update - The girl who fell, as discussed in beginning of article, has learned she has a displaced disc, probably from this incident. At some point, she will need surgery. Two years passed until it began to hurt. In the meantime, she sees a chiropractor who puts it back in place. She gave up cheer her senior year in high school when she was injured in a car wreck.
How fortunate for me that I could not see the stage that day, Oh, I could see it, but I was sitting so high in the arena that I could not discern one girl from another. All of a sudden, I heard a “boom,” and a hush came over the crowd. My husband told me he thought my best friend’s daughter fell. She was a flyer in a State Cheer Competition. A flyer is a person who is supported by others, usually four people. It spelled danger to me.
Cheerleading Coaches Should Be Certified
Accidents in Cheer Competitions
She was fortunate as she only suffered a mild concussion, and, through some miracle, she went back to school five days later.. She suffered headaches for some time and returned to cheer much too soon, in my opinion.In a quirk of fate that very week, our newspaper ran a story about cheer accidents, disturbing me even more..Cheerleading is more dangerous than football, according to the article, which made me delve a little deeper into the issue.
I learned that every cheerleader in these groups has a specific responsibility. A girl called a spotter is to protect the flyer from falling as the group counts to a beat to ensure a flawless performance. . In addition, I learned that every cheer coach should receive certification, according the cheer rules, but it is not a requirement. I hoped that the cheer coach was certified, but I already knew this girl had very little training to be a flyer.Training may be lacking in some of these cheer competitions, a factor which my cause more accidents... What happened to the idea that cheering is fun?
Drama and Danger Over Making Team
A mother in Texas hatched a plan to have a cheerleader’s mother killed, allegedly. That is not fun Something is very wrong when there are so many injuries or when girls become hysterical when they try out for the squad and miss the cut. When I was in school, the cheerleaders always seemed to have fun, and there were no competitions. How times have changed!
Rise in Injuries
In 1988, the Academy of Pediatrics issued a report on the rise in cheer accidents. Apparently, this began in the 1980’s when gymnastics alone began to lose its appeal and became combined with cheer. Competitions became popular, and each school tried to outdo the other with more difficult and more dangerous routines. In 2002, a girl in California became a quadriplegic following a cheer accident. Parents sign waivers agreeing not to hold the schools responsible for injuries. However, this case went to court and the girl won, based on the fact that the cheer instructor was only a dance instructor. She apparently made the girl do a basketball twist routine in spite of the girl’s objections. What a sad situation!
Another girl in Oklahoma was injured in an accident and remained on a stretcher with no attention until that competition ended. It appears that the competition must go on and does not stop for injuries as in football games.
Cheerleaders, Pom, and Band Bring Liveliness to Games
Guidelines from National Cheer Association.
So what is the answer? There are guidelines from the National Cheerleaders Association of America. One of the guidelines is to have each coach certified The following is a statement from the American Association of Cheer Coaches and Administrators. “How do we keep cheerleading safe? The answer is for activities and athletics associations, administrations, coaches, parents and athletes to recognize cheerleading for what it is - a very athletic activity that requires the proper environment and the supervision of a mature, qualified coach that only allows his or her team to perform skills they are qualified to attempt.”. They also suggest that a medic evaluate an injured girl for possible transport to the emergency room. It also appears that following a serious fall that the person is evaluated immediately.
I hope I will never see another cheerleader fall or witness any other accident. People must pray that the the number of injuries to athletes decrease and that the schools, coaches, and athletes adhere to the rules. Also, people must realize a person is not a failure for not making a team or a cheer squad. Society must rise above the feeling that being on a team and winning at all costs is the focus of life. Life is much more than that., Let us look around at the wonders that God has bestowed upon us and be grateful. Bum Phillips, a former coach once said “It is not all about winning. It is the fun of the game.”
Did you ever see or hear about an injured cheerleader?
National Cheer Safety Foundation link
- National Cheer Safety Foundation
Organization formed in 2008 to deal with the safety issues of cheer. This foundation was organized by parents for parents. There is a website where injuries can be directly reported. A physician is on the board of thie foundation.