Cheerleading -- not for the faint of heart

Filed under: Teens, Activities: Babies, Health & Safety: Babies

A young cheerleaderWhat's the most dangerous sport for high school girls? It's not what you might guess. It's not soccer, softball, or even kickboxing -- it's cheerleading. It turns out, according to a new report, that cheerleading accounts for nearly two thirds of all catastrophic sports injuries over the last twenty-five years among high school girls. Perhaps that explains something about our current president.

Don't think this is about twisted ankles and broken fingernails, either. We're talking death and dismemberment here. Admittedly, strains and sprains account for more than half of the injuries, but it's still no walk in the park. Of the more than one hundred fatal, disabling, or otherwise serious injuries suffered by high school girls, two thirds took place amongst cheerleaders.

Cheerleading has changed in recent years, becoming more gymnastic in nature. This has contributed to the increase in injuries. According to Dr. Frederick O. Mueller, who lead the research team that produced the report, "If these cheerleading activities are not taught by a competent coach and keep increasing in difficulty, catastrophic injuries will continue to be a part of cheerleading."

When I was in high school, I chose the swim team over football -- no three hundred pound guys trying to knock you down and jump on you, plus there are all the female swimmers running around in their swimsuits. I think I'll encourage the same choice for my kids.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.