Cheerleading's Brave New World Raises Safety Worries

Injuries on the rise; recent death highlights concerns
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Apr 19, 2008 1:11 PM CDT

(Newser) – As cheerleading has become a spectacle of acrobatic feats with its own events, injuries—some of them deadly—have been on the rise, ABC News reports. In the latest example, a 20-year-old woman died after being accidentally kicked in the chest during a Massachusetts competition last weekend. She suffered damage to her lungs more often seen in car crashes.

A 2006 study found that the number of cheerleading-related injuries of kids ages 5-18 reported by emergency rooms more than doubled from 1990-2002, from 10,900 to 22,900. Other research found that between 1982 and 2006, more than half of the 107 direct catastrophic injuries to high school and college female athletes were due to the sport. But despite the risks, participants are unlikely to stop pushing the envelope.