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Cheerleading continues to become the focal point of the news media when it comes to concussions in an athletic setting.
WRIC, a television station in Richmond, Va., recently posted a story where they quoted Phil Logan, owner of the Fame All Stars Program, about the evolution of cheerleading: “As the sport is evolving, it’s getting more and more difficult and to be competitive the teams are having to do more difficult stunts and gymnastics through the entire routine.”
The article also quote a doctor, Chad Dillard, who has treated about 30 cheerleaders for concussions over the past year at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU.
“There’s a lot of being thrown up in the air but there’s also a lot of catching so we’ll see girls coming down awkwardly, catching somebody with an elbow with a side to the head or actually being dropped sometimes,” said Dillard. “They’ll kind of try to fight through it because they are tough and they want to push through it and that can lead to prolonged symptoms.”
Several hundred miles away in Youngstown, OH, another television station, WFMJ, also carried a report.
“I’ve seen people that are the basket or the catchers get concussions from being kicked in the head, I’ve seen a vast array,” Dr. Joe Congeni, director of sports medicine at Akron Children’s Hospital, told the station.
“The one we worry about the most, is when you’re mounting a two person mount, or even in college a three level mount, that’s a pretty significant distance of a fall and that’s where some of the catastrophic injuries are concerning to us,” he said.
Congeni added that another problem is the cheerleaders may not realize they have a concussion.
“Because the symptoms are subtle, because maybe they just don’t feel right and have a headache and other things, it’s easy to blame it on other things and not be sure a concussion really took place.”
A federal judge has granted summary judgment to a school district, which was sued by a cheerleader, who was injured in practice back in 2004.
However, the court left intact her claim against the coach, finding that a jury could reasonably conclude that the risk of significant injury from a fall onto the hard floor surface was foreseeable and a fairly direct result of the coach’s decision to proceed without proper matting.
The high school cheerleading squad was attempting to perform an advanced stunt, which was being introduced to the squad for the first time on that day.
The court noted that there were multiple spotters that day as the squad tried several times to perform the stunt. On the last attempt, the plaintiff flew outside the perimeter of her base and her spotters, striking her head and suffering a concussion.
This decision will be reported in depth in the November issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter next month. Subscribe by visiting: https://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/