More than just cheering on a football team under the Friday night lights, cheerleading has become a highly competitive sport with routines that include increasingly difficult and dangerous stunts.
During the last decade, the popularity of competitive cheerleading increased dramatically thanks to ESPN-broadcast competitions and popular movies, like the 2000 film Bring It On.
A 2012 survey reported upwards of 500,000 high school cheerleaders across the country. The number is closer to 1 million participants when cheerleaders of all ages are included – some pick up pom-poms before entering grade school.
Unfortunately, the increase in participation and competition has led to an increase in injuries as well. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics:
In an attempt to curb the number of catastrophic injuries in cheerleading, restrictions have been placed on stunts. They range from height restrictions in human pyramids to the thrower-flyer ratio to the number of spotters that must be present for each person lifted above shoulder level. However, in spite of these attempts to make cheerleading less dangerous, the number of cheerleading injuries has not decreased.
Here are some important safety tips for cheerleaders:
If injuries occur, immediately consult a health-care professional.
Good Shepherd Physical Therapy – Bethlehem/Performing Arts Rehabilitation Center  has a dedicated rehabilitation team who understand and cater to the unique needs of cheerleaders, dancers and other performing artists. Learn more .