Cheerleading & Catastrophic Injury Cases
Pennekamp Law specializes in all types of catastrophic injury cases, including bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, car accidents, trucking accidents, wrongful death cases, and many more. Any type of significant injury case where a family member or their loved ones require a high level of recovery and post recovery care, is what we classify as a catastrophic injury.
One of the hardest things that we have to do at Pennekamp Law, and as lawyer in general, is to place a value on the most priceless of thing in this world, the life and well being of an individual. This is a challenge we face in all of our Catastrophic Injury and Wrongful Death cases.
How Cheerleading Has Changed
Cheerleading has become the leading cause of catastrophic injury in young female athletes. Cheerleading injuries are increasingly common. We know from data from the Consumer Products Safety Commission that rates of injuries have gone from nearly 5,000 in 1980 to close to 26,000 to 28,000 just in the past few years.
University of Michigan cheerleader Kathy Reynolds discusses how she incurred her cheerleading injuries. “I landed right on my head when I didn’t execute a backflip correctly and I remember just laying there and immediately I stopped breathing. I broke my neck and it injured my spinal cord at C1-C2. I will always be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.”
If you look at what cheerleading was 10 years ago to what it is now, it’s totally different. People are being lifted up 20 to 30 feet off the ground because you’re being thrown up in the air with swings and trampolines. They have raised the bar so far and beyond.
Common Cheerleading Injuries
Most cheerleading injuries are the common types of things that one would think about… muscle strains, pulled ligaments, tendon injuries, and other injuries along those lines. The concern with cheerleading injuries today is that there are a fair number of increasingly severe injuries. The leading cause of catastrophic injuries in female athletes is cheerleading. It’s approximately 65% to 66% of all our female catastrophic injuries in either high school or college.
One of the biggest concerns if that there’s a significant degree of difficulty now in cheerleading as a sport. There often aren’t adequate safety measures in place in schools with cheerleading. One of the particular concerns is often they’re practicing in a variety of different locations. This may be in somebody’s backyard. It might be on the hard gym floor. It might even be in a parking lot. Because of that, there’s not a good supportive surface should they have an incident where they fall, hurt their head or their back, their spine.
Also, one of the main concerns with cheerleading safety is that the cheerleaders are often practicing by themselves or meeting at somebody’s house where they might not have adequate supervision. Without an adequately-trained coach present during practice, cheerleaders may not be using the proper techniques, and spotters may not be placed where they should, then injuries may occur.
How Parents Can Help
When children are interested in cheerleading, parents should ask questions about the qualifications and certifications of the coaching and physical training staff, especially the experience of the coach. Parents should ask the coaches the types of athletes that they have worked with in the past, particularly if they have been involved in gymnastics-type stunts.
Parents also need to know what the plan is for that cheerleading squad, what types of activities are they going to be doing. Who’s going to be supervising those activities, and where they’re going to be performing those activities. As with any activity involving teenagers, parents supervising the young adults need to be qualified and fit to help the children in case of an emergency.
If you or a loved one have been severely injured while performing or practicing cheerleading, it is highly likely that you are entitled to compensation to pay for your pain, suffering, and medical expenses. Please fill out the form below to request a FREE consultation with one of our Catastrophic Injury Attorneys.