Cheerleaders have long been a fixture at every high school and college football game in the country — but cheerleading is no longer considered just a way of revving up a crowd’s level of enthusiasm for a team during a pep rally or halftime.
Cheerleaders have evolved into athletes in their own right and competitive cheerleading has become increasingly well-respected for the amount of sheer talent and technical skill it requires.
Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most dangerous sports in the country, requiring the young people involved to perform increasingly dangerous stunts and feats of acrobatic and gymnastic prowess in order to keep the crowd both entertained and awed. And, like all athletes, cheerleaders are competitive, so they may push themselves too far in their drive to beat out a rival cheerleading team during local, regional and national competitions.
How dangerous can cheerleading be, really?
In 2013, research indicated that cheerleading was behind more than 50 percent of the catastrophic injuries — which include brain injuries, neck injuries, damage to the victim’s spinal cord, paralysis and even death — suffered by young female athletes.
The average cheerleading routine usually includes stunts that put one member of the squad high in the air — where she often becomes a danger to herself and those below her. One wrong move on the part of any member of the supporting athletes and the athlete at the top of a pillar can tumble. That cheerleader may suffer a devastating neck or brain injury — or she may come crashing down on the head of another squad member and inflict those injuries on someone else.
Coaches often permit stunts that they know (or should know) are too dangerous — like the team members, coaches may be tempted to take risks in order to win competitions or build a more impressive team.
If your child has suffered a catastrophic brain or spinal injury due to the negligent or reckless actions of a cheerleading coach, talk to an attorney today. For information on how our firm can help you, please visit our web page.