Cheerleading gets a really bad rap for it’s injuries. Mostly because the biggest ones tend to happen on a national stage … then when everyone realizes just what those cheerleaders have been performing they are shocked.
We know what cheerleading entails. We know it’s dangerous (and beautiful). So we need to be keeping our teams safe and be on the lookout for common injuries that could hold your athletes back.
Sprains and strains
Over half of all cheerleading injuries are sprains and strains. With all of the flexing of muscles and the hard landings and big jolts, it’s no wonder!
You’ll likely see a lot of ankles, neck, lower back, knee, and wrist injuries as a coach. So watch out for technique in your tumbling, stunts, and jumps. Teach your girls to absorb landings well and to have good form. It can help prevent some of those injuries.
Again, all of the stunting and tumbling in cheerleading can lead to back injuries where improper form is present. Be relentless about form at all times.
The most common issue I see is bases lifting stunts with their backs or catching stunts without absorbing in the legs–leaving their backs to take the load. You want to watch out for those things especially.
We saw all of this coming, right? Concussions are becoming more and more common among many sports, and they’re certainly getting more attention.
Today, cheerleading could be considered a contact sport, and it’s easy to see why. So be sure to take good care of all your flyers’ head and shoulders, but also encourage your bases to catch without stepping too far under and getting hit in the face. Lastly, back spots bear the brunt of head injuries. Teach them to stay close but also teach your flyers to fall in a controlled manner.
Steps to Prevent Injuries
Though injuries will be inevitable in any athletic activity, there are steps you can take to make it less prevalent in your team.
- As you’ve probably gathered by now, you should always been watching for poor technique and bad habits. Encourage your athletes to break out of those and even explain the potential long-term problems they could face.
- Take time for strength and flexibility training. If you’re not working on your team’s overall fitness, you’re missing a key ingredient in keeping them safe. Give them the tools they need to perform their difficult skills and you’ll see a healthier, more motivated team overall.
- Make sure the environment you create is as safe as it can be. Never stunt or tumble on concrete, keep basket tosses on mats, and be aware of the rules for competitions and sideline cheering. You want to manage the risk as much as you possibly can.
You are a big key in your team’s safety and wellbeing. Be proactive and you can help prevent injuries that keep them sidelined.