Texas Living

Ensuring Your Cheerleader Bounces Back from Injury

By Dustin Bass 9.22.15

The start of the school year brings a ton of cheer into the air, due in large part to the cheerleader section at local high schools. Cheerleaders, however, face one of the highest risks for injury compared to other athletes.

According to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, more than 65 percent of catastrophic injuries involving high school females are cheerleader-related. The sport is second only behind football for most catastrophic injuries.

The most common injuries sustained by cheerleaders involve the wrists, shoulders, ankles, head, and neck. But these injuries can be avoided with these tips.

  • Strength Training. Resistance through the use of weights or bands helps strengthen muscles in the legs, back, abdomen, and arms and can help alleviate the stress caused by falls or trips, as well as during tumbles.
  • Improve Flexibility. Cheerleaders are known to be flexible, but staying limber through continuing exercises that stretch muscles, such as yoga or Pilates, is important for prevention.
  • Heal Completely. Most athletes hate being sidelined and try to stay active. This will only increase the damage to the injured area. Cheerleaders, like all athletes, should be cleared by a medical professional before returning to the squad.

With the obvious risks involved, parents of cheerleaders, regardless of the age, should consider the insurance protection their child currently has.

Darrell Allen, a Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent based in Dallas County, says although the school or organization may offer a secondary policy for injuries sustained through cheering, the family’s health insurance is the first line of protection.

Parents who haven’t signed up for the secondary policy may want to add it to their child’s protection plan. “These are typically inexpensive and may cover the deductible and copays required by the primary coverage,” Allen says.

He also adds that better protecting the cheerleader in the family will help mitigate the high cost of medical care and the financial strain injuries can have on a family.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation. © 2015 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance