When one thinks of brain injuries, they think about football, boxing and martial arts ? not cheerleading. Unfortunately, a study that was published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that cheerleaders are among the most likely to underreport a brain injury. Underreporting brain injuries is serious because it could lead to further long-term damage. This study explores the reasons why cheerleaders underreport their injuries and how parents and coaches might get answers.
Teenagers are among the hardest sub-groups to study. They are naturally secretive and withdrawn. They are wired to focus on short-term consequences, not long-term. This predisposition coupled with “team spirit” in which they don’t want to be a burden on their teammates, is a deadly combination for many cheerleaders.
Cheerleader has the highest rate of catastrophic injuries accounting for 66 percent of all severe (long-lasting or permanent disability) injuries in females. This is far higher than football which barely breaks into the double-digits.
The study found that, rather than flyers accounting for the majority of injuries, it was instead bases. A flyer is a small girl that is the one flung into the air and perform the aero-acrobatics. The base is a team of girls that launch the flyer and catch it. It appears that missed catches and flyers falling onto their teammates accounts for the majority of cheerleading-related brain injuries.
The study followed cheerleaders from middle school up through college. It found that as cheerleaders’ progress in age, their rate of injury and seriousness of injury significantly increases. For example, college cheerleaders are five times more likely to sustain a serious injury than a high school cheerleader.
If your loved one or child was injured while competing then it is important that you get them checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. You may also want to speak to a personal injury attorney. Coaches and teams encourage competitive spirit but that should not override safety concerns. An attorney can go over the events with you to determine if an error occurred that could have prevented the injury. Your child may have suffered significant injuries that could require months or years of medical treatment. An attorney can help you get the funds you deserve to provide care for your child.