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The New York Post


It's a safe bet that cheerleading has become one of the most popular activities for school kids.

But with its stunts becoming ever more difficult, it's far from the super-safe endeavor of a generation ago.

Over a 23-year stretch, the number of annual emergency room visits by cheerleaders soared 189 percent, according to a study published this month.

Over that period, ended in 2012, a total of 497,095 cheerleaders ages 5-to-18 were treated in US emergency departments, the study revealed.

In 2012, the last year covered by the study, an estimated 37,344 cheerleaders went to an ER - or more than an average of 100 a day, according to the study conducted by Nada Naiyer, Thiphalak Chounthirath, and Gary Smith from the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

And while cheerleading has exploded in popularity, its estimated 70 percent growth over the 23 years is far below the rise in injury rate.

"The increase in the frequency of injuries is most likely due to the increase in the number of cheerleading participants and the increase in the athleticism of the activity," the study says.

"Over the years, cheerleading has evolved from jumps, splits, and clasps to incorporating advanced gymnastics skills, such as tumbling and stunts, including pyramids and tosses," the study says.

The average age of injured participants is 14.1, the study says. Concussions represented 7 percent of ERs; sprains accounted for 48 percent of injuries.

Recently, cheerleading's regulatory body took steps to make the sport safer (see story here).

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April 24, 2017


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