Cheerleaders at Risk for Concussions

By: Anna-Lysa Gayle Email
By: Anna-Lysa Gayle Email

Virginia High School League's handbook

PENN LAIRD, Va. (WHSV) Concussions aren't just limited to football players. A new study shows it could happen to cheerleaders.

With all the tumbling, tosses, pyramids and other stunts, injuries are likely.

"I have sprained the ligaments around my spine and I sprained like my whole back," said Amanda Mcavoy, who serves as a back spot on the Spotswood High School cheerleading team.

Mcavoy's coach says she is constantly preparing her girls through strength conditioning, so they are ready for the unexpected.

"They've got to have that arm strength. They're not throwing footballs, they're throwing each other," said Clare Alderman who is the coach of the Spotswood High School Cheer team.

According to a report released by the Institute of Medicine, from 2001 to 2009 there was 66 percent increase in concussions among those engaged in youth sports.

"Most of the time, it's because of something very minor, like a hand slip," said Alderman who has had cheerleaders who have suffered a concussion.

Serious symptoms associated with concussions, include seizures, weakness, numbness, decreased coordination, repeated vomiting, nausea and slurred speech.

Alderman says concussions usually happen to base cheerleaders.

"They'll get hit with an elbow or hit with some kind or hard or hit head to head," said Alderman.

"It's a lot on your back if you don't do it right and I don't do it right a lot and that's how I hurt myself," said Mcavoy.

Alderman says before any of her girls can get back to cheering after a concussion, they must complete a Baseline test, which is a new rule this year. She also follows the Virginia High School League's handbook.

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