Catastrophic High School and Collegiate Cheerleading Injuries in the United States: An Examination of the 2006-2007 Basket Toss Rule Change.
BACKGROUND:: Cheerleading is a specialized athletic activity that can lead to catastrophic injuries. Cheerleading rules are in place to maximize safety of participants. The purpose of this study was to describe catastrophic cheerleading injuries among high school and collegiate-level participants in the United States and to explore whether the 2006-2007 basket toss rule change was effective at reducing the number of catastrophic injuries. HYPOTHESIS:: The 2006-2007 basket toss rule change contributed to a reduction in the number of catastrophic injuries among high school and collegiate cheerleaders. STUDY DESIGN:: Case series. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:: Level 4. METHODS:: Data on catastrophic cheerleading injuries were collected by the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research from July 2002 to June 2017. Information collected included cheerleader, event, and injury characteristics. The impact of the 2006-2007 rule change banning the basket toss on any hard surfaces was assessed by comparing injury rates and 95% CIs before and after the rule change. RESULTS:: There were 54 catastrophic cheerleading injuries, or 3.6 injuries per year. From July 2002 through June 2017, the injury rate was 2.12 per 1,000,000 cheerleaders (95% CI, 1.56-2.69). Most cheerleaders sustained serious injuries (n = 27; 50%) during practice (n = 37; 69%) to the head (n = 28; 52%) and cervical spine (n = 17; 32%). From July 2002 through June 2017, basket tosses were the stunt that accounted for the highest proportion of injuries (n = 19; 35%). The basket toss injury rate decreased from 1.55 to 0.40 per 1,000,000 cheerleaders among both high school and collegiate cheerleaders after the rule change. CONCLUSION:: Catastrophic injury rates in cheerleading decreased dramatically after the 2006-2007 rule change banning basket tosses from being performed on any hard surfaces. In particular, there was a nearly 4-fold reduction in the rate of catastrophic basket toss injuries.
Yau, RK; Dennis, SG; Boden, BP; Cantu, RC; Lord, JA; Kucera, KL
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