CHAPEL HILL A new report on severe sporting injuries among high school and college athletes shows cheerleading appears to account for a larger proportion of all such injuries than previously thought.
The latest annual report from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill-based National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research shows high school cheerleading accounted for 65.1 percent of all catastrophic sports injuries among high school females over the past 25 years.
Previously, the figure was believed to be 55 percent, but new data included in this year's survey indicates that the true number of cheerleading injuries appears to be higher.
The story is the same for college participants as well. At that level, the new data shows cheerleading accounted for 66.7 percent of all female sports catastrophic injuries, compared to past estimates of 59.4 percent.
The difference is due to a new partnership between the UNC center and the National Cheer Safety Foundation, a California-based not-for-profit body created to promote safety in the sport and collect data on injuries, which provided the center with previously unreported data. The addition of new information compiled by the foundation saw the inclusion of an additional 30 injury records from high schoolers and college students. Beforehand, the number of direct catastrophic injuries in all sports totaled 112.
The center's director, Frederick O. Mueller, Ph.D., professor of exercise and sports science in UNC's College of Arts and Sciences, who has authored the report since it was first published in 1982, said catastrophic injuries to female athletes have increased over the years.
"A major factor in this increase has been the change in cheerleading activity, which now involves gymnastic-type stunts," Mueller said. "If these cheerleading activities are not taught by a competent coach and keep increasing in difficulty, catastrophic injuries will conti
|Contact: Patric Lane|
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill