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The dangers of head injuries in cheerleading

Cheerleaders in Colorado and other states might have to fight for their right to be recognized as athletes, but cheerleading requires fit, flexible individuals who are ready to practice frequently and compete in intense environments without the same protective gear football or baseball players use. These athletes forgo things like helmets and padding even though cheerleading can cause concussions, brain injuries and skull fractures.

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons ranked cheerleading as one of the 20 sports where head injuries happen the most, and the Washington Post found that more than half the catastrophic injuries caused to female athletes were from cheerleading. While cheerleading always has inherent risks, the pressure to win may lead athletes to perform difficult stunts that they cannot handle. Cheerleaders are more likely to receive a concussion when learning a new skill than when competing, and more than 36 percent of cheerleading injuries are head injuries.

Cheerleaders can become exhausted during even short routines as they are packed full of gymnastics, dance moves and stunts, and fatigued cheerleaders can injure themselves or others when they use less focus or precision. Practice is crucial in cheerleading, but cheerleaders can protect themselves by paying attention and not doing anything that makes them uncomfortable. While there is pressure to keep going after suffering an injury, a cheerleader who feels like something is off should insist on receiving medical attention.

Seeking treatment after a head injury is sometimes crucial to prevent more damage, but a brain injury may be difficult to diagnose as some symptoms might not appear immediately. Medical treatment, following a doctor's orders and being careful are often necessary after a brain injury. This may interfere with one's normal activities, but those who were injured due to another person's negligence may want to speak with a personal injury attorney to determine if there is any recourse available for seeking compensation for the losses that have been sustained.

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