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Posted on Wed, Aug 5, 2009 : 1:33 p.m.

Your thoughts: Is cheerleading too dangerous?

By Tina Reed

The fall sports season is less than a month away. And with it, according to a recent University of Michigan study, comes the start of the season that's the leading cause of catastrophic injury for young women: Cheerleading.

With increasing difficulty in the sport - including more stunts like backflips - data shows the number of cheerleading accidents in high school and college rose from 5,000 in 1980 to nearly 26,000 and 28,000 in recent years, according to the study.

Researchers also hypothesize the sport may cause more injuries because while stunts are getting trickier, it's still often being coached by parents or amateurs - rather than trained professionals. It's also often practiced on hard surfaces like gym floors.

Both the Los Angeles Times and the Tampa Tribune picked up stories about the study.

What do you think? Is cheerleading too dangerous? Do you think more should be done to prevent injuries among young cheerleaders in Washtenaw County? Who's responsible for making the sport safer?


Original Ann Arborite

Thu, Aug 6, 2009 : 2:21 p.m.

Yes, Cheerleading is a sport, I mean just like anything else can be a sport. Things change, sports evolve, I mean let's keep it real here. I don't think it's too dangerous, I just think that steps should be taken in case of mistakes. I would think the coaches should have procedures to make sure their squad is safe.

peg dash fab

Wed, Aug 5, 2009 : 11:25 p.m.

one thing i am sure of: cheerleading is not a sport!


Wed, Aug 5, 2009 : 11:07 p.m.

21st Century cheerleading is DANGEROUS!! Were my 2 daughters in high school or college now, I would do everything in my power to keep them out of cheerleading as we know it in the 21st Century (of course, if you are a parent of a teengirl, you will know this is impossible!). I consider it TOTALLY UNPROFESSIONAL AND UNETHICAL for highly-paid "Educators" to TOLERATE children being subjected to the level of pressure that is inherent in 21st Century so-called "cheerleading." It is, truly, a SCANDAL!! Yins hooners parents of teengirlz, yins may end-up providing life-long care to yer child as she sits in her wheelchair and needs her diapers changed! Just go and Goggle it = a totally chilling experience! Sue the crap out of the teacher-sponsor and the School Board; that is my advice!


Wed, Aug 5, 2009 : 9:02 p.m.

"...isn't worth the risk" to who? To you? Clearly not. To the people taking part, clearly it is worth the risk or they wouldn't do it. All they need to understand is exactly what that risk entails. Then it's their choice, their basic freedom to decide.


Wed, Aug 5, 2009 : 7:27 p.m.

Sorry to be so aggressive with Occam's Razor here, but all they really need to do is stop the dangerous stunts. For example, a four-body tall pyramid looks cool, but it isn't worth the risk, especially for the person at the top. Ultimately, too, it doesn't really add anything to the sporting event. It seems that in this era of "extreme sports," we expect too much out of our cheerleaders. Let cheerleaders lead cheers and let gymnasts do gymnastics in a controlled environment with proper training and medical supervision.


Wed, Aug 5, 2009 : 7:07 p.m.

Cheerleading or any other physical activity in high school needs supervision by trainers who know what is age appropriate...the days of "no pain no gain" thankfully should be gone as well as the life long injuries incurred by pleasing overzealous coaches.

Jake C

Wed, Aug 5, 2009 : 5:11 p.m.

djm12652: And in 1968, tennis players used wooden rackets, football players wore leather helmets, hockey players wore no helmets at all, and women weren't encouraged to play physically demanding sports because it wasn't considered "ladylike". I consider progress to be a good thing! In terms of the original question about whether cheerleading is "too dangerous" and what more should be done to prevent injuries, I think the U of M study linked provides a pretty comprehensive list of what should be done: more forgiving flooring, better trained coaches, and an emphasis on safety.

Chrysta Cherrie

Wed, Aug 5, 2009 : 3:21 p.m.

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Wed, Aug 5, 2009 : 3:11 p.m.

Perhaps if cheerleaders went back to "leading cheers" and stop dancing and all the high flying manuevers there would be a radical drop in associated injuries...being thrown in the air 10 to 15 ft and hoping someone will catch you is not cheering your team on...and I was on the Avondale JV Squad in 1968...we cheered

Tina Reed

Wed, Aug 5, 2009 : 2:37 p.m.

Matt and saintkatih: Sure, all physical activity raises an individual's risk of injury to a certain degree. But the point of the study was to show there is a disproportionate amount of serious injury related to this particular physical activity. Perhaps a better question is, "Do you think the increased risk of catastrophic injury in cheerleading is a reasonable risk and what additional precautions, if any, do you think need to be taken to make cheerleading safer?"


Wed, Aug 5, 2009 : 2:33 p.m.

I agree with hunh!!! There is no reason for anyone to think about pulling the plug on cheerleading. Thats crazy. There is a risk, but there is also a risk driving a car too....


Wed, Aug 5, 2009 : 2:01 p.m.

To quote a previous poster whose comment has since been deleted, "No." All people, and young people especially, need outlets to take risks. That's a healthy and necessary part of life. You know, like having to put up with short but honest answers to closed questions even when you disagree with them.

Matt Hampel

Wed, Aug 5, 2009 : 1:53 p.m.

CNN: Dead athletes' brains show damage from concussions Physician's Warning: those who perform physical activity are at risk of getting injured.


Wed, Aug 5, 2009 : 1:30 p.m.

not anymore dangerous than the football they cheerlead. boombaye