The Most Dangerous Youth Sport Will Surprise You

There are a lot of dangerous sports being played today, but the one considered the most dangerous for youth is one you would never have imagined: cheerleading. They tumble, they fly, and they do it all with smiles on their faces. However, behind the big bows and the sparkly pompoms of the sport, dangers lurk. The sport was responsible for 65% of direct catastrophic injuries to female high school athletes during a 27-year period, according to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The risk connected to cheerleading continues to rise as the difficulty of skills performed increases. Part of the reason so many cheerleaders sustain serious injuries is because they do gymnastics skills on hard surfaces and rely on other people for safety, which can sometimes be unreliable. The most common are the shoulder, elbow, ankle, and foot injuries because they involving tumbling that causes these areas to take a pounding. Guidelines have been in place for high school cheer in order to try to combat injuries, yet none of these safety measures can completely eliminate the risk. One common measure nationally calls for cheerleaders doing stunts to have a padded mat below them if they are on a hard surface besides grass.