Brain injury and cheerleading activities

Washington high schools may include cheerleading as an option for extra-curricular activity. In addition to providing opportunities for developing relationships while participating in demanding physical activity, this sport may also be an excellent source of scholarship opportunities for talented individuals. However, the competitive nature of the sport may create situations in which team members are encouraged or expected to take unnecessary risks as they attempt stunts that are dangerous. These situations can result in serious injuries for those who are not comfortable or well-prepared. Brain injury is one of the most serious potential outcomes, and it is important for those participating as well as those overseeing to be aware of concussion protocol.

One of the main reasons for greater risk of serious brain injury is the fact that many routines involve the use of flyers. One flyer works with three supporting individuals, two acting as bases to support the flyer with the third supporting the two bases from behind. If any of these individuals loses focus or errs, one or all could be hurt. Dropping a flyer could result in that person suffering broken bones, bruises, or injury to the spine or head. A flyer falling on the supporting individuals could also lead to head injuries or other negative outcomes.

Cheerleaders should be their own advocate to ensure that they aren’t placed in jeopardy through the performance of a stunt with which they are uncomfortable. Additionally, it is important to speak up if an injury has occurred, especially a blow to the head. Ignoring concussion protocol could lead to more serious consequences in a future incident.

A parent whose child has been injured during cheerleading activity might wonder about the responsibility of supervising adults in the situation. If the responsible adult was negligent in addressing a head injury, it might be appropriate to consider personal injury litigation against that party and the organization responsible for the activity.