Cheerleading Injuries

July 7, 2014

Cheerleading injuries are on the rise. For this reason, it is important that administrators, parents, coaches, and medical personnel recognize that cheerleaders must received appropriate medical attention just like any other athlete.

Shields and Smith noted that from 1990-2003 cheerleading saw an increase in participation from 3.04 million to 3.58 million while also seeing a 110% increase in injuries. Cheerleaders suffer many different injuries including sprains and strains, but can also suffer broken bones and even more serious injuries. Approximately 65% of catastrophic injuries in female high school athletics have been attributed to cheerleading. Why is that? Read the rest of this entry »

Many people don’t fully understand what it is that Athletic Trainers do. Many days we may spend an afternoon/evening on the sideline/courtside, etc and openly it does not appear that we are doing a whole lot. Personally, I tell people that’s a good thing. Because if I’m busy during that time, that means there are injuries. We all want our kids to be safe! But what people don’t realize is that we are normally zoned into the game watching for things that most people wouldn’t pick up on. When I was in pro baseball, my dad made the comment about how I needed to be paying attention in the dugout. Trust me, it may not look like it, but in that environment you always know what’s going on! “We’ve Got Your Back!” #AT4ALL #NATM2014

Where there are athletes, there should be athletic trainers. In many situations, those athletic trainers are the first to respond. Regardless the injury or the setting. Athletic Trainers Save Lives. #AT4ALL

So many people believe we need this reporting system or this helmet in youth football. Or we need to wear this soccer headgear. So many believe that if we educate parents and coaches we could advance. But the most important thing we can do for youth sports and high school sports is just considered “too expensive.” Or we find so many other excuses. The one I especially love is “there aren’t enough ATs available.” No, what really is the answer here is there aren’t enough ATs willing to work for next to nothing or volunteer their time. If parents, coaches, and league/school administrators want to get to the bottom of youth sports, they will find a way to afford a Certified Athletic Trainer.#AT4ALL

Over the course of the last 9 months, I have spent significant time researching two topics: Cheerleading injuries and the Functional Movement Screen (FMS). This has culminated in my Capstone Project with the above title. Today I’m pleased to share with you my project. I would certainly be remiss if I did not thank the cheerleaders at Waterloo High School and their coach Amber Hensiek, my mentors Ashley Rockey and Dr. Carlen Mulholland, and the program director at the University of South Florida Dr. Rebecca Lopez. Without all of their help, this project would not have been possible. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions you may have and I’ll try to answer them to the best of my ability!


Injury prevention is a mainstay in the athletic training profession and something that we attempt to achieve on a daily basis. Identifying exactly why and how the injury rates can be improved must be a priority. National injury surveillance programs have been developed that help researchers to track these injury rates if that sport is included in the particular interests of the study.

Cheerleading has long fought to be recognized as a sport, which caused it to be excluded from national sports injury surveillance programs for many years. Additionally, rules and regulations have long lagged behind the sport itself in terms of safety. There are national associations such as the National Cheer Safety Foundation and the National Cheer Association who have attempted to improve the safety of the sport, but much work remains. Cheerleading is no longer the cheerleading mothers and grandmothers grew up with girls on the sideline leading the cheers of victory. Instead, the sport has become a competitive activity with similarities to gymnastics combined with team spirit1. Many cheerleaders were at one time gymnasts and these girls have brought those skills and experiences to the cheerleading competition mat. Competitive cheer and gymnastics share many risks and rewards. One of these risks is the increased opportunity for serious injury. Absent serious injury, cheerleading also causes numerous less severe injuries such as sprains and strains on a regular basis. It has been noted that while cheerleaders do not suffer injuries at the same rate as other athletes, the percentage of catastrophic injury is much higher than other female sports at the high school level1,2.

If you want to read the whole thing, you can download the paper FinalDraftCapstone.

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What Do You Think About?

February 17, 2014

When you go to bed at night, what do you think about? What keeps you up at night? Do you think about what you did that day? Or maybe you think about what is coming the next day? Maybe it’s thinking about where the money for that bill comes from? Read the rest of this entry »

Passion and Plan

February 6, 2014

Last month, on a recommendation from my friend Kristi Messina, I ordered Jon Acuff’s book Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job. Unfortunately it has taken me longer to read this book than I originally thought. When I first started it, I was reading 20-30 pages at a time. But with everything else going on too, that dropped off. But tonight I picked the book up again and read a topic that I want to talk about right away.. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Just Football?

October 20, 2013

On this blog, I’ve made it a habit to talk about other sports. I love football and many of you I’m sure are aware of that! But football is always in the spotlight and when it comes to injuries, there’s no getting out of the spotlight for the game of football. But football is not the only sport for which there is serious risk of serious injury. Why, then is there so much emphasis on safety in football and not other sports? Read the rest of this entry »

Tonight everybody is talking about Kevin Ware from the Louisville Cardinals after a gruesome injury ended his season tonight on national television. If you missed it, you can easily find pictures and videos online if you so desire. He suffered a compound fracture of both his tibia and fibula which required surgery to repair. But it is important to highlight the care he received immediately following the injury and recognize the importance of the Sports Medicine Team and the Emergency Action Plan that was put into action. Read the rest of this entry »

I consider sports medicine to be very much a team activity and to provide superior sports medicine, there must be a team of professionals in place to make it happen. In this post, I will address those professionals that I consider crucial for a high school sports medicine team. I will post both the “ideal roles” as well as more realistic roles.

I’m biased, but this is the most important professional in the sports medicine team. The athletic trainer is the central figure with responsibilities in every facet of sports medicine. Every high school should have at least one athletic trainer if not a team of athletic trainers. The athletic trainers are responsible for six domains of athletic training. Read the rest of this entry »

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