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Brain injuries prevalent in competitive cheerleading

Competitive cheerleaders in West Virginia often perform dangerous stunts that expose them to a higher risk for brain injuries, spinal injuries and death. Though cheerleading has yet to be recognized as a sport, cheerleading accidents are the cause of over half of the catastrophic injuries to female athletes that take place. In practice and competitions, cheerleaders suffer from brain injuries, skull fractures, cervical spine injuries and paralysis.

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, cheerleading is one of the top 20 sports with the highest head injury rates. In competition, cheerleaders usually perform routines that include tumbling passes and stunts where a 'flyer" could potentially be dropped. When more than four cheerleaders are used in a stunt, the flyer could be performing stunts at heights over 8 feet above the ground. The cheerleader 'bases" who hold the flyer can also be injured if the flyer falls on them.

To get their routines down, cheerleaders often practice longer hours than football and basketball players do. The risk of being injured during a stunt is higher during practice than it is in competition because cheerleaders have usually perfected their routines by the time they go to a competition. Over 36 percent of injuries that occur during cheerleading practice and competition are head injuries.

A person who has suffered from a traumatic brain injury in a cheerleading accident may be able to claim financial compensation from a liable party. Whether there was a lack of safety equipment or inadequate training before a routine, a personal injury lawyer might be able to aid an injured cheerleader in filing a personal injury claim against the parties responsible for their injury.

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