I know some moms are worried about letting their children participate in cheerleading because of the (sometimes) negative image and stereotypes often associated with teen cheerleaders. But I find this news to be way more alarming: Cheerleading is the most dangerous sport, causing more serious and deadly injuries among high school athletes than other sports.
The latest report lists the following statistics for the 26-year period from the fall of 1982 through the spring of 2008:
- There were 1,116 direct catastrophic injuries [severe or fatal] in high school (905) and college sports (211).
- High school sports were associated with 152 fatalities, 379 non-fatal injuries and 374 serious injuries. College sports accounted for 22 fatalities, 63 non-fatal injuries and 126 serious injuries.
- Cheerleading accounted for 65.2 percent of high school and 70.5 percent of college catastrophic injuries among all female sports.
There's good news, however: Cheerleading injuries fell slightly in the 2007-2008 academic year—no doubt due to the fact that increased emphasis and awareness with respect to cheerleading safety has led to increased cheerleading safety efforts.
Is your teen a cheerleader? Do you find these statistics as frightening as I do?