Should Somebody Track Cheerleader Injuries?

The Dallas Morning News follows up on a topic we have kicked around here on Al’s Morning Meeting before — cheerleading injuries, which are rising as stunts become more athletic:

No monitoring system or organization totals injury reports, slaps fines on violators or tracks participation rates in most states, including Texas. Meanwhile, stunts have become more sophisticated and interest continues to peak.

“There is a zero system for holding anyone accountable,” said Kimberly Archie, the executive director of the California-based National Cheer Safety Foundation. “It’s a self-governed, $2 billion industry with no regulations for a child’s welfare. In football you can say X number of people died. Well, in cheerleading, it’s hard to find any numbers at all because nobody has to report anything.”

One of the more recent deaths in Texas involved a Prairie View A&M University cheerleader. Bethany Norwood was paralyzed from the neck down after her teammates dropped her during a stunt in 2004. She died two years later.

A recent study did attempt to chronicle the increase of major cheerleading accidents nationwide. The report, conducted by the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research and based on emergency room cases, noted that the activity accounted for two-thirds of serious injuries among high school female athletes nationwide in the past 25 years.

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