By: Kelda Doherty
Concussions and brain injuries are medical conditions our firm has repeatedly litigated. Previously, the primary focus of concussions in sports was football; however, more recently cheerleading is now gaining attention. This attention is long overdue given that the modern sport of cheerleading has developed into a high risk activity, involving aerobatics, gymnastics, and various high-speed stunts. Despite its dangerous nature, cheerleading is not required to abide by stringent concussion prevention rules such as a 90 minute per week limit on full contact practice. The lack of regulatory safety precautions such as the wearing of protective gear continues despite surveys showing a 28% increase per year in the number of concussions suffered between 1998-2008 in the sport. Mueller and Cantus Catastrophic Sports Injury Research revealed that cheerleading is responsible for “64.8% of all direct catastrophic injuries to female athletes at high school level and 70.6% at college level”.
The highlighting of the dangers associated with cheerleading has prompted an increase in personal injury litigation directed at the unregulated cheerleading programs.