Sideline Accidents 5 Common Cheerleader Injuries

November 22, 2013
by Michael Barber
Sideline Accidents 5 Common Cheerleader Injuries

If your child is considering trying out for the cheerleader squad, as parents, you should know about the most common cheerleader injuries. Today's squads are not just for girls but also boys. As children age, they even continue to cheer from the sidelines in high school and college. Here are the most common injuries along with surprising injury statistics.

The Huffington Post calls cheerleading the most dangerous sport for American women. They reported that 66 percent of catastrophic sport-related injuries among women in the United States are due to cheerleading. This hold more closely to competitive cheerleading versus football sideline cheerleading. 

1. Strains and Sprains

Strains and sprains are the most common injuries among cheerleaders accounting for more than half of their injuries. According to, Gabby Taylor, a 15-year-old high-school student and captain of her team suffered what was first thought as a sprain but ended up being a nerve injury that traveled from her shoulder, down her arm and to her fingers. Taylor needed serious nerve surgery to recover properly.

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2. Fractures and Dislocations

Approximately 16.4 percent of cheerleading injuries are fractures or dislocations. Usually, these injuries are caused by the complicated maneuvers cheerleaders attempt. One 18-year-old girl in California, broke her neck after being thrown 15 feet into the air and landing head first on the ground, reported Scholastic. Tosses and throws, are popular for squads, especially those who want to compete in cheerleading titles. And, once stronger boys join the team, these tosses and throws are getting higher making falls even more dangerous.

3. Soft Tissue Injuries

About a quarter of cheerleading accidents are soft tissue injuries. Torn ligaments and sprains to muscles and tendons are included in these stats. As coaches encourage students to push the limit on splits, stretches and the acrobatics, these soft issues injuries are becoming extremely common.

4. Concussion and Head Injuries

Approximately 3.5 percent of cheerleading injuries result in concussions and other head injuries to the face like lacerations that require stitches. Many concussions are still not reported. Kali Wald, an 18-year-old in Illinois was tossed in the air and landed, "first on her upper back and neck, then on her head," says Scholastic.

Again, tosses and throws into the air are something cheerleaders want to excel at but unfortunately, if not caught as the stunt is designed, injuries can mean a trip to local urgent care centers.

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5. Lacerations, Tears and Other Injuries

Lastly, lacerations and tears account for 3.8 percent of cheerleading injuries and 5.5 percent of all injuries were placed in the "other" category. When lacerations are deep, stitches and proper wound care is needed and coaches and parents need to know the nearest walk-in clinic locations to make sure emergency care is obtained as quickly as possible. Other injuries like bruises and bumps can also be serious if not checked out properly by a physician.

Related: 10 Ways to Keep Your Kids Out of the Urgent Care

If your child is eager to start the cheerleading season this year, these are the five most common injuries in this sport. Accidents do happen, but it's up to you and your child's coach to understand a child's limits and where to go if urgent care is needed.