While it may seem like cheerleaders have all the fun by dating Thad the All-State Quarterback or by getting the glory of being named Prom Queen, as the movie “But, I’m a Cheerleader” has shown, there’s a dark underbelly to the all the gum-twirling and general airheadedness. And in some cases, that underbelly is deadly!
(”See! Cheerleading is SO a sport!”)
According to LIVESCIENCE, cheerleading “is far more dangerous than any other sport” for high school and college women. And that’s even before taking into consideration the daily dangers of riding in elevators or undergoing excrement-based hazing rituals.
Any jerks out there who still fall under the “cheerleading is not a sport” cloud, take a look at some of these gory stats:
High school cheerleading accounted for 65.1 percent of all catastrophic sports injuries among high school females over the past 25 years, according to an annual report released Monday by the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research.
The statistics are equally grim in college, where cheerleading accounted for 66.7 percent of all female sports catastrophic injuries, compared to the past estimate of 59.4 percent.
Less than catastrophic injuries are vastly more common and they occur at much younger ages, too. Children ages 5 to 18 admitted to hospitals for cheerleading injuries in the United States jumped from 10,900 in 1990 to 22,900 in 2002, according to research published in the journal Pediatrics in 2006. The breakdown:
Strains/sprains: 52.4 percent
Soft tissue injuries: 18.4 percent
Fractures/dislocations: 16.4 percent
Lacerations/avulsions: 3.8 percent
Concussions/closed head injuries: 3.5 percent
Other: 5.5 percent
The new report released Monday found that between 1982 and 2007, there were 103 fatal, disabling or serious injuries recorded among female high school athletes, with the vast majority (67) occurring in cheerleading. The next most dangerous sports: gymnastics (nine such injuries) and track (seven).
From the looks of it, you’d think the ladies were participating in backyard wrestling or some variation of chess boxing. Noticeably absent from the above stats are male cheerleaders, who suffer mostly from strained eyeballs after forcing themselves not to look up their co-cheerleaders’ skirts.
As a final warning to all of the ladies out there who think cheerleading is just fun and games, we present the following video highlighting the general pratfalls of the highly concussive sport:
Keep it safe out there, girls.