Cheerleading is dangerous. No question about it. With all the new stunts that designed to outdo the competition, the danger is evident. In fact, cheerleading stunts have become every bit as dangerous as high wire or circus acts – without the nets!

As evidence of the dangers in cheerleading, here are excerpts from a story reported by CBS News Correspondent Mika Brzezinski as posted on the CBS News website:

“Antico and her mother Elaine Pascale run a competitive cheerleading gym, where the teams cheer for no one but judges at often-televised contests. Pushing the limits of gymnastics and dance, competitive cheerleading drives school cheerleaders to put on just as good a show to rev up the crowds.

"I loved cheerleading," says Rechelle Sneath.

Sneath made the team at San Jose State University last fall, doing stunts like the basket toss, a routine millions of cheerleaders perform every day.

"You're just thrown in the air basically," says Sneath. "You're supposed to look pretty and 'ooh and ahhh' and get the crowd going."

But just months into her freshman year, the stunt went wrong at practice and Rechelle became the second cheerleader this year left paralyzed.

I was just praying because I wanted to be OK, and then they said I broke my back," she says.

Source of Cheerleading Injuries

The main source of injuries results from the increased difficulty of stunts, also referred to as pyramids. Stunts are used at pep rallies and games, but are used more frequently at competitions. During competitions, teams, depending on how far into the competition they progress, can be required to do 20, 30 or different stunts. Quite often there is little time between stunts so fatigue can become a factor. Common cheerleading related injuries may include:

  • Ankle sprains
  • Back injuries
  • Head injuries (including concussions)
  • Broken arms
  • Knee injuries
  • Elbow injuries