Cheerleading has been named the most dangerous female sport in the United States by the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury (NCCSI). Research has found that two-thirds of severe school sports injuries over the past 25 years were from cheerleading. Many people do not think of cheerleading as a “real sport”, yet the highly demanding acrobatic moves, jumps, tumbles and splits create very serious jolts to their bodies.
Some of the most common injuries for cheerleaders include overuse injuries of the shoulders, wrists, and elbows, neck injuries, head traumas, wrist fractures and dislocations, patellar tendonitis, ankle sprains, stress fractures, hip strains, hip inflammation, and low back injuries. Many of these occur from falls and collisions during stunts and tumbling. Like any sport, recovery time is needed to allow the body to adapt and heal from sporting activities; but with a season from fall to spring there is little chance for recovery. Any injury at a young age that is not rehabbed properly will result in residual problems later on in life. Many times these injuries prevent kids from excelling as good athletes down the line.
Chiropractic care can help! Experts report that the risk and severity of injury can be kept to a minimum with chiropractic care. Chiropractors provide a unique understanding of the rigorous training and physical stress of sports on the body. They are the only healthcare professionals who specialize in correcting spinal misalignments with adjustments. The nervous system is critical to our well-being because the nervous system controls and coordinates all of the functions of the body. When injuries occur, they can create interference in the nervous system, not allowing the signals to be sent correctly to the rest of the body. An adjustment relieves this interference in the nervous system, therefore, reducing biomechanical stress and optimizing the athlete’s agility without the use of drugs with hazardous side effects. Chiropractic care not only helps a current injury but helps prevent future injuries.
A recent study took two groups of athletes in training. One group was given regular chiropractic care in conjunction with their training while the other group only continued their training. As expected both groups improved after twelve weeks, although there was a big difference in their results. The group that did not receive chiropractic care improved 4.5% while the chiropractic group improved 16.7%.
Amanda Mitchell, a Redskin cheerleader, credits chiropractic care for making it possible for her to perform through a 16-game season. She reports that her flexibility has been improved and the pain from subtle injuries dramatically reduced through chiropractic care!
Chelsea Causey, a third-year member of the Redskin cheerleading squad, said, “I’ve experienced multiple injuries during my career as a cheerleader – everything from pulled hamstrings to sprains and even lower back pain – setbacks that chiropractic care has always helped me with recovery.”
The Western Mustangs Cheerleading Team credits their team chiropractor for helping them win their twentieth consecutive national championship. For the first year in recent history, they did it injury-free for their entire season!
Rebecca Allen, a high school cheerleader, says, “I would not be able to cheer if it wasn’t for chiropractic. It has made such an impact on my cheerleading that I’m considering chiropractic as a career!”
Chiropractic can help bring an athlete to their optimal potential, but all aspects of the athlete’s health need to be at the top of their game. Regular exercise outside of practice, including weight training, warm-ups and cool-downs for both practices and events, maintaining a healthy well-balanced diet, and maintaining good technique can help reduce the chances of injuries for the athlete.
- B Duran. Inside cheerleading: the most dangerous sport for women. To your health. Mar 2011:pg 6-10.
- Foundation scores another touchdown. Dynamic Chiropractic. 15 Jan 2011. 29(2):1-2. Cited from http://wangfamilychiropractic.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/dynamicchiropractic.com-foundation-scores-another-touchdown-1295624654.pdf [August 26, 2011].
- The western mustangs cheerleading team. Letter of appreciation. Cited from http://wangfamilychiropractic.com/athletic-performance-articles/495-2.html [August 26, 2011].
- E Plasker. Why teen athletes get adjusted. Cited from http://wangfamilychiropractic.com/athletic-performance-articles/488-2.html. [August 26, 2011].