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The Dangers of Cheerleading and Concussions

As the cheerleading sport grows in popularity, so do the intense competitive dynamics, which if not practiced properly, can lead to extreme injury, particularly concussions.

What exactly is brain health and why should it be a top priority in everyone's lives?

Lets start with the basics:

What exactly is brain health and why should it be a top priority in everyone’s lives?

In simple terms, our brain health underlies our ability to communicate, make decisions, connect with others, problem-solve, and live a productive and happy life … and so much more. A brain injury left untreated can be detrimental to a child’s education and proper development.

Cheerleading Injury Awareness

The American Academy of Pediatrics conducted a 27-year study on cheerleading,  concluding the sport was responsible for 65% of catastrophic injuries to female high school athletes. The number increases if you consider college injuries.

  • There was an average of at least one death per year of cheerleaders from 1991 to 2015.
  • A fall from a cheer stunt has been reported to have a greater impact than being tackled by a professional football player.
  • Though these statistics are known, cheerleading still has yet to be recognized as a sport by the AMA (American Medical Association).

This recognition would not only increase funding for the programs, providing money to purchase better safety equipment, but it would also set requirements assuring schools will provide the same level of safety training to coaches as the other recognized sports.

But we can’t wait until then to protect our cheerleaders.

We can and should start now. 

The Role of Flyers and Bases in Cheerleading Stunts


Flying is one of the more sought-after positions in competitive cheer because of the thrill that comes from flying through the air. They rely on bases to support and catch them to prevent injury.


Bases are the athletes who support the flyers by lifting and catching them. They must have strong technique and be properly trained to reduce concussion risk.

So what can we do to protect our cheerleaders?

The Importance of Education and Awareness in Preventing Cheerleading Concussions

Cheerleading Culture

Cheerleading Culture

Cheerleaders and coaches should work together to promote a culture of safety and concussion prevention, educating teammates and parents and reporting signs or symptoms of concussions.

Proper Equipment

Proper Equipment

Cheerleaders should wear appropriate safety gear, such as helmets and headbands, and be trained in correct techniques to reduce concussion risk. 


Know the signs and symptoms- and take your children's injury seriously:

You can dramatically decrease the chances PCS (post concussion syndrome) by catching a concussion early and properly follow the recommended protocol from your physician.

What is a Concussion?


A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or body that can cause the brain to move rapidly back and forth.

Common Causes in Cheerleading

Concussions in cheerleading are most often caused by falls, collisions, or being hit by a solid object, such as a pom-pom.

Recognizing and Managing Concussions

Signs and Symptoms

Cheerleaders, coaches, and parents should be aware of the signs and symptoms of concussions, such as dizziness, headache, and confusion.

Steps to Take

If a concussion is suspected, the cheerleader should be removed from the activity and evaluated by a medical professional. Rest and proper concussion management are essential for recovery.
Technique and Training- for Flyers
  1. Technique and Training for Flyers
Flyers should be trained in proper technique and should only attempt stunts that are appropriate for their skill level. Spotting by bases and coaches is important.

2. Techniques for Bases to Reduce Concussion Risk

Bases should be trained in proper techniques for lifting and catching and should work together with flyers to improve safety.

3. Cheerleading-Specific Safety Drills
Cheerleaders should practice safety drills that simulate falls and collisions, training themselves to protect their head and neck when they fall.

Why is it important to monitor you child when they are involved in contact sports?

There are many different signs and symptoms that can signal to a brain injury. Many of which can be easily mistaken for something else. This is why it is important to monitor your children if they are involved in a high contact sport.

What could an undiagnosed brain Injury look like for a child in school:

  • Sudden disinterest in activities they once enjoyed
  • Personality changes
  • Drastic drop in grades
  • Overall disinterest in scholastics
  • Inability to focus in class
  • Headaches
  • School related anxiety or depression
  • Fatigue
  • Light or noise sensitivity in the classroom
  • Dropping grades
  • Disinterest in after school activities and or important relationships
  • Irritability

Long Term Effects of Concussion or TBI. The Hope Center Approach!

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Functional Medicine and Functional Neurological  Diagnostics

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Resources for Further Information on Concussion Prevention in Cheerleading


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