Cheerleading 5th Lowest Injury Rates of 22 High School Sports

Research shows that cheerleading has experienced a major reduction in injuries in recent years, thanks to increased regulation and coach training.

The rates of severe injuries from cheerleading are similar to other high school sports, including soccer, basketball, gymnastics and lacrosse, and were lower than those for football, field hockey, ice hockey, baseball and wrestling.

In 2014, there were fewer emergency room visits for girls age 14-18 for cheerleading (21,831) than girls’ basketball (47,113), soccer (37,193) and softball (27,940).

Research is available that makes it clear that cheerleading is a safe activity for athletes of all ages. If you need additional information, please visit the Experts section to discuss safety concerned with a CheerSafe safety expert.

Downloadable Graphics Available Here


  • AACCA Cheerleading Safety Study
    This study summarizes existing cheerleading safety studies.
  • National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study
    R. Dawn Comstock, PhD, Christy L. Collins, MA, Natalie M. McIlvain, BS
    This annual study of 20 High School sports, conducted for the National Federation of High Schools, includes reporting by Athletic Trainers at the high school level assigned to each sport. Injuries which result in a loss of at least one day of playing time are reported along with number of daily exposures to injury. Results demonstrate that cheerleading has a significantly lower risk of injury, 17th out of 20, than most other sports in the survey.
  • National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (ER Visits)
    This report estimates total injuries based on a sample of approximately 100 emergency rooms across the U.S. based on data given when someone is admitted to the ER.  This is a prevalence report that shows cheerleading has a lower total number of ER visits (36,925 in 2011) compared to girls’ basketball (94.886),  girls’ soccer (70,043) and girls’ softball (52,986).
  • National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research
    Frederick Mueller, PhD and Robert Cantu, MD
    This report on college and high school sports catastrophic injuries is often cited regarding the prevalence (total number) of injuries dating back to 1982. What is not often reported is that the incidence (rate per 100,000 athletes) for cheerleading is lower than many other male and female sports, including girls’ ice hockey, girls’ gymnastics and girls’ soccer. The report also shows a significant decline in serious injuries in cheerleading since 2005-06.
  • Trends in Concussion Incidence in High School Sports: A Prospective 11-Year Study
    Andrew E. Lincoln, ScD; Shane V. Caswell, PhD, ATC; Jon L. Almquist, VATL, ATC; Reginald E. Dunn, BA; Joseph B. Norris, MD and Richard Y. Hinton, MD, MPH, PT
    This 10-year study of 12 sports in 25 Virginia high schools reported that cheerleading is tied with baseball as the sports with the lowest concussion rates (.06 per AE), as compared with the three highest sports, boys’ football (.60), girls’ soccer (.35) and boys’ lacrosse (.30)
  • Incidence and Risk Factors for Concussion in High School Athletes, North Carolina, 1996–1999
    Mark R. Schulz, Stephen W. Marshall, Frederick O. Mueller,Jingzhen Yang, Nancy L. Weaver, William D. Kalsbeek and Michael Bowling
    This study evaluated 15,802 high school athletes over a 3-year period with reporting by the Athletic Trainer. This study demonstrates that the rate of concussion in cheerleading is significantly less than other high school sports. In this study, cheerleading tied with wrestling as the two sports with the lowest concussion rates.