Cheerleading, like all sports, comes with risk. We’ve all heard the phrase that “injuries are part of sports”. That isn’t a reason to turn a blind eye to prevention and just accept that any injury is part of the game. As coaches, as parents and as athletes we all must refocus our energies on preventing injuries. With this focus in your program, you lower the risk of injury and increase the chance that when there is an injury it can be attributed to an unpreventable accident instead of something that never had to occur.
According to the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study, 60% of injuries most commonly result from a stunt. It stands to reason that a focus on reducing the number of falls from stunts can result in a lower injury rate in cheerleading.
Falls happen. They happen when learning new stunts and they happen even after stunts are mastered. Again this is true of all sports. Who hasn’t seen an Olympic gymnast fall on the beam, resulting in a landing on the neck or head on the beam or simply having to step off after losing their balance on a turn. This is a skill she has been working on since she was probably 4 or younger.
But falls, no matter how small, open the window for an injury. Even when caught properly by spotters and bases, there is still a risk of injury. After all, the focus of the spotters and bases during a fall is to protect the head, neck and shoulder area of the top person. Landing on someone’s foot can still twist, sprain or even break an ankle depending on the force and angle of the landing. […]