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When Cheerleading Kills

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A young woman's death begs the question: How safe are competitive school sports?

20-year-old cheerleader Lauren Chang lost her life this weekend after cheering in a competition in which the petite student had to perform an acrobatic flip that proved fatal.

According to ABC News, the cause of Chang's death resulted after being accidentally kicked in the chest during the cheerleading competition. However, witnesses say that Chang had fallen on her stomach after attempting to perform a high-flying flip and complained of stomach pains and difficulty breathing following the accident.

A 2006 study in the Journal of Pediatrics reveals the number of cheerleading-related injuries more than doubled during a 13-year study period and researchers at the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research note that between 1982 and 2006, of the 107 direct catastrophic injuries to high school and college female athletes, cheerleading was related to more than half.

Out of all high school sports, football has the highest injury rate as well as the greatest number of catastrophic injuries, with soccer causing the most injuries for girls. Gymnastics has recently been reported to cause as many injuries as more "dangerous" sports—soccer, basketball and cheerleading: 4.8 injuries per every 1,000 participants.

In light of this recent news, would you allow your daughter to become a cheerleader?

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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Barbra April 23, 2008, 5:05 PM

My joints got the most damage from cheering in highschool :(

April April 23, 2008, 7:19 PM

I was a cheerleader all throughout high school, and I would let my daughter join the squad. Just as I plan on allowing my son to play football if he wants to. Sports are dangerous - that comes with the territory. You just need to be careful… while cheering, if I didn’t feel comfortable with a stunt, I didn’t do it.

Krystle April 30, 2008, 2:43 PM

Ive been cheering for 10 years and have had some knee injuries. nothing serious but i have to wear a knee brace. Im a flyer and have been dropped several times. After reading about the girls death. it makes me want to be even more careful when im cheering.

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