Skip to Main Content
Skip Nav Destination

Report looks at safety risks of cheerleading :

December 10, 2015

High school cheerleaders sustain injuries at lower rates than most other athletes, but their injuries may be more serious, according to a new report.

“Cheerleading Injuries in United States High Schools” looks at the sport at a time when the authors say skills have become more difficult.

“A detailed knowledge of cheerleading injury patterns relative to other sports is needed to drive targeted, evidence-based prevention efforts,” authors said in the report (Currie DW, et al. Pediatrics. Dec. 10, 2015,

Researchers collected data from the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study on rates of injury per athlete exposure (AE) from 2009-’14. An AE is defined as “one athlete participating in one practice, competition or performance.” The injury rate for cheerleading was 0.71 per 1,000 AEs, ranking it 18th of 22 sports.

No significant difference was found in the injury rate during competition (0.85 per 1,000 AEs) and practice (0.76), while the rate during performances was lower (0.49).

Concussions were the most common injury in cheerleading, accounting for 31.1% of the injuries, which is significantly higher than found in previous studies. However, the concussion rate of 2.21 per 10,000 AEs was lower than the rate of 3.78 per 10,000 AEs for all other sports combined.

Other common cheerleading injuries were ligament sprains (20.2%), muscle strains (14.2%) and fractures (10.3%).

Just over half of the injuries occurred during stunts followed by about 20% from tumbling and 10.8% from pyramids. Nearly 97% of those injured were female, but males were injured at a higher rate.

In about 16.2% of the injury cases, cheerleaders needed to take three weeks or more off, coming in second behind gymnastics.

Researchers said they hope the study will inform parents, coaches, athletes and policymakers about safety risks and strategies to prevent injuries.

Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal