This weekend the Mohegan Sun Casino hosted the Spirit National Cheer and Dance Championships. I served as the physician for this event. Cheerleading has been referred to as "the most dangerous sport in America" based on the frequency of injury. Although there were injuries at the event, none were serious and all were evaluated by certified athletic trainers and physicians.
Many people have offered solutions on how to make cheer and dance safer. Some have advocated for greater regulation and others for banning it entirely. After working with these athletes who are passionate about their sport, I believe there is only one way to improve safety.
Parents who are collectively spending millions of dollars on lessons, entry fees, uniforms and make up should demand that the sport be made safer by insisting that they will only spend their hard-earned dollars in gyms where instructors are certified in teaching as well as first aid. Parents must also insist that they will only allow their children to compete in venues where licensed medical professionals are available in case of a catastrophe.
The American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators can help guide parents to the safest gyms and competitions.
Sadly, it is only through the power of the almighty dollar that this sport will become safer.
Do you have a cheer and dance story to share?
If you are a "cheer parent" would you make the hard choice of keeping your child out of an unsafe competition?
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