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Overcoming the risks of cheerleading

Patterson Mill Cheerleading at the County Champions on October 25th. The team prepared very hard for this competition. This year was a challenging year for the cheerleading team because of having hardly any seniors.  Taylor Hyde(10), Adriana Brown(10), Emily Kitchens(9), Jillian Lambert(10), Marley Jett(10), Kayla Iwanowski(9), Maddie Morton(12), Hanna Christopher(9), Grace Damico(12), Jinha Kim(11), Ella Beauchamp(9), Alex Simpler(11), Jinyoung Kim(9), and Maliya Wrzosek(9).

Mitch Lebovic

Patterson Mill Cheerleading at the County Champions on October 25th. The team prepared very hard for this competition. This year was a challenging year for the cheerleading team because of having hardly any seniors. Taylor Hyde(10), Adriana Brown(10), Emily Kitchens(9), Jillian Lambert(10), Marley Jett(10), Kayla Iwanowski(9), Maddie Morton(12), Hanna Christopher(9), Grace Damico(12), Jinha Kim(11), Ella Beauchamp(9), Alex Simpler(11), Jinyoung Kim(9), and Maliya Wrzosek(9).

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Cheerleading-related injuries, according to The New York Times, in 2002 brought about 22,900 nationwide injured cheerleaders to the emergency room. Many injuries occurred on the cheerleading team here at Patterson Mill High School. Cheerleading is an exciting sport, but injuries have become greater in numbers as the stunts and tricks have become more complex and involved. Many athletes keep trying to play through the pain of a sprained ankle or broken wrist, but it’s only making it worse. Playing through an injury that doesn’t appear to be severe, could increase the chances of re-injuring or causing to injure another part of the body. Athletes never know which injury could be their last, ending their entire sports career.

Cheerleading is harder than most people think. Karie Johnson, the athletic trainer here at Patterson Mill High School says, “I’ve seen the most injuries at this school from cheer.” The most common injuries have been concussions, sprained ankles, and broken wrists, from the tension of constantly lifting the flyers into the air. “Cheerleading is nothing like you think it would be, there is no way of redeeming yourself,” Kayla Iwanowski, a freshman on the varsity cheerleading team says. If you fall in a stunt, it is hard to get back into the correct formation of the stunt since a routine is normally around two minutes. Cheerleading is a team sport and you rely on your team to catch you during a stunt or to be in the correct formation during the routine. If your teammate isn’t sure about what they’re doing, just one person can cause injuries for the rest of the team. An article from the Huffington Post recommends that cheerleaders to speak up if they are not comfortable with a certain trick or stunt they were asked to do.

The article “As Cheerleaders Sore Higher So Does Danger” from The New York Times says, “All the sports combined did not surpass the amount of injuries as cheerleading.” As cheerleading becomes more and more involved injuries have increased. “Emergency room units for cheerleading have more than doubled since the early 1990’s.” “Cheerleading a Major Cause of Brain Injuries” from the Huffington Post states, “head injuries account for more than 36 % of cheerleading-related injuries.” The varsity cheerleading coach, Kaitlyn Custis here at Patterson Mill states, “the most [frequent] injury in cheerleading is concussions.” The New York Times reported that, “more than half of head and spinal injuries have resulted from cheerleading.”

Injuries are increasing and becoming more serious as the stunts become more challenging. Jessica Smith, a cheerleader at Sacramento City College, broke her neck in two places because of a stunt gone wrong during her cheerleading career. She explains, “you have to work hard in cheer just like any other sport, but working hard enough could keep you from being in a wheelchair.” The things Smith experienced during her cheerleading career made her never went to go back to cheer or even watch it ever again. She says, “they ought to be telling the girls they are signing a death wavier.”

If you are a competitive athlete that is injured it is very important to act fast upon your injury to get back to playing the sport you love as soon as possible. It is significant to keep your body healthy to be able to perform, and compete at you highest level. To prevent injuries it helps if athletes stretch before and after a practice, game or competition, to make sure your muscles stay lose. If an athlete is injured it is important to listen to exactly what your doctor tells you to do. Make sure you pay attention to how much physical activity you can do. If you feel pain, stop! You want to build your strength back up, meaning as soon as your cleared from your injury to not put 100% right away to make sure you don’t reinjure yourself again. “Make sure you get lots of rest to give your body the energy it needs to get better faster.” The cheer coach at PMHS recommends.

Many kids have started to do cheer at a very young age Karie Johnson states. “Cheering at a young age should be fine as long as they know the right mechanics of the sport,” but “going from high school cheer to club cheer, could be too much.” She suggests that if someone is looking to start cheerleading they know how to properly catch first. Knowing the mechanics of the sport is very important to keep yourself and your teammates safe. “Make sure you know what you are getting into,” Ella Beauchamp a freshman also on the varsity cheer team says, as she was hurt with a concussion during the high school cheer season. “Cheerleading is a very time demanding sport,” Kaitlyn Custis, the head varsity cheerleading coach here at PMHS explains. Many girls on the varsity cheerleading team say it is a stressful sport and a big-time commitment, but it is worth it. Everyone on the team becomes best friends. They learn everything about themselves such as their strength and weaknesses.

Mitch Lebovic
Kayla Iwanowski, at the Perry Hall competition, on October 21. Kayla is a base on the Varsity Cheerleading team. She is a freshman along with many others who were also on varsity cheerleading.

Cheerleading is an exciting, nail biting sport, but can be dangerous. It is a sport where people fully rely on their team. Cheerleaders build an unbreakable bond with the girls on their team, and learn to trust one another. Not only trusting one another, but trusting yourself and knowing your own body to keep you safe. Cheerleading helps you gain an optimistic attitude. Many people make mistakes during cheer and all sports, it’s how you come back from your mistake and how you work even harder, that’s what counts. If a teammate makes a mistake you learn to be there for them in making them feel better. Cheerleaders learn how to speak up for themselves and how to communicate well among a group of people. They learn how to focus well and stay on track, which can help during school and in cheer. There’s many positive things that come out of cheer. As many college coaches say, “cheerleading is working hard to become safer.” Being aware of the many potential risks and taking time to heal will allow those passionate about cheer to continue this great sport.

 

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Overcoming the risks of cheerleading