Cheerleading isn't as easy as the cheerleaders make it seem, it isn't all about the pom-poms and looking cute.Cheerleading isn't thought of as a dangerous sport, but perhaps it should be.Here's some professional MMA fighters that talk about how much harder cheer is than wrestling.
Brothers Don and Ed Moroney cheer on the Weber State Spirit Squad and are also MMA (mixed martial arts) fighters. I know a lot of multi-sport athletes, but the college cheer-pro fighting combination is a first for me. MMA fighting basically lets opponents use tactics from different styles of fighting—like karate, boxing, kickboxing, and wrestling,—to try to either knock out their opponents or hurt them bad enough that the referee determines they can't defend themselves. So having done both cheerleading and MMA for years now, guess which one the Moroney brothers say is more difficult?
Here is what they said “Between football, wrestling, cage fighting, and anything like that, cheerleading is by far the hardest sport I've ever done, and the most painful,”
There are many dangerous in cheer that can cause serious injuries, like in stunting and in tumbling.
And these aren't just ankle sprains either. Many of these injuries involve neck and spinal trauma that can leave young women paralyzed or even dead.Between 1982 and spring 2007, there were 103 fatal, disabling or serious injuries among female high school athletes. Sixty-seven of those injuries were to cheerleaders. By comparison, only 9 such injuries occurred in gymnastics.
As you can see cheer is a very dangerous sport, here are some scary anecdotes, courtesy of the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill:
- In August of 2005 a 14 year-old female high school cheerleader died after being thrown into the air and landing chest down in the arms of her teammates. She died of a lacerated spleen caused by blunt abdominal trauma.
- A college female cheerleader fractured a cervical vertebra and suffered a concussion on March 5, 2006, performing a stunt during a basketball game. She fell 15 feet onto her head. A recovery was expected.
- A 14 year-old female high school cheerleader collapsed and died during a cheerleading practice. She collapsed after being the flyer on a basket toss. Cause of death was cardiac arrest. A defibrillator was used after the accident.
- In January 2007 a 15 year-old high school cheerleader was performing a double front flip into a cushioned landing when she took an odd bounce and landed on her neck. She had damage to cervical vertebrae 6-7 and had a 5-hour surgery. She has a permanent titanium plate and screws along her spine.
- An 18 year-old college cheerleader fractured her neck in two places when she fell head first from a height of about 15 feet. She was a flyer during practice. She had a halo brace bolted to her skull for two months. She has recovered, but her movements are highly restricted.
- In March of 2007 a college cheerleader fractured her neck, had a concussion, and bruised a lung after falling 15 feet from a pyramid during a basketball game. She lost her balance and fell to the floor.