The dangers of cheerleading - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

The dangers of cheerleading

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - While football players are hitting the gridiron, some cheerleaders are not just hitting the sidelines.  Instead, they are twisting and tumbling for competitions.

The United States Sports Academy says about 65% of all catastrophic injuries in youth sports happen in cheerleading.

Seventeen cheerleaders from Brookstone in Columbus are getting ready for their first competition of the season on Saturday.

"Stunting and twisting and flipping and all those kinds of things and incorporation a cheer," said Lizzie Cole-Greenblatt, a junior for Brookstone.

All those dare-devil stunts can at times end up with girls on the ground.  That is why cheerleading is ranked 2nd in the country for catastrophic injuries just behind football.

Carsyn Ciuva, a Brookstone cheerleader, says she is not surprised.

"We are just as likely to get a concussion because we're falling out of the air, not just falling off our feet, and we're flipping upside down.  They hit people, but we hit the floor too," said Ciuva.

According to the United States Sports Academy, a cheerleader hitting the floor has a greater impact than being tackled by a professional football player.

Brookstone's Head Cheerleading Coach, Sara Wilson, says they practice good habits to keep that from happening.

"We work hard on technique.  We use extra spotters when we are learning new stunts and new things," said Wilson.

Cheerleaders, like Alexandria McCluskey, even have their own language.

"I can do a lay out and I'm working on a full right now."

They flip, tuck, toss, and cheer for two minutes and thirty seconds for a competition.  You may not think that is much, but this squad dares anyone who says this is not a sport to step up to the mats.

"They've probably never been out on that floor.  They've never jumped and twisted and run as hard as they can toward the corner [of the mat] just to flip in the air and twist as hard as they can hoping to land on their feet."

The squad from Brookstone practices almost every day of the week sometimes even on Sunday.  They even are on the sidelines every Friday cheering on their football team.

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