What goes up must come down! A primary care approach to preventing injuries amongst highflying cheerleaders
This article provides information regarding the most common nonlife-threatening and catastrophic injuries that occur during cheerleading, and describes the role of the nurse practitioner (NP) in managing patients who participate in cheerleading.
Literature review of evidence-based research articles, epidemiological reports, and current guidelines.
Cheerleading is one of the most popular sports among adolescent females, and participation has increased rapidly in recent years. Rates of injury have also increased as the difficulty of this activity reaches new heights. Several factors such as body changes during puberty, societal pressures affecting nutrition, and lack of safety regulations place cheerleaders at risk for injury. Sprains/strains are the most common injury, and concussions are the most common traumatic injury. Injuries occur as a result of tumbling, stunting, falling, spotting, and unsafe practice surfaces.
Implications for practice
The role of the NP in injury prevention is to identify risk factors during preparticipation physicals, initiate conditioning and strength training routines, and implement safety measures during practices and competitions. The NP should also provide education and guidance to cheerleaders, parents, and coaches.