Neck and spine injuries in Canadian cheerleaders: An increasing trend

      Abstract

      Background/Purpose

      Cheerleading, now increasingly practiced in Canada, has a high propensity to cause traumatic neck and spine injuries. We aimed to evaluate the importance of neck and spine injuries in the practice of cheerleading and their occurrence mechanisms in order to propose preventive measures.

      Methods

      A retrospective cohort study of cheerleading injuries extracted from the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program database between 1990 and 2010 was performed.

      Results

      Overall, there were 1496 cases of injuries documented secondary to cheerleading (median age 15, 4 (IQR = 2, 2) years; 1410 women (94%)). Of those, 125 cases (8%) were neck and spine injuries. The most frequent injury was a sprain/strain (47%). More severe injuries included fractures (4%), muscle or tendon injury (3%), dislocation (1%), and nerve injury (1%). Over half of these injuries were caused by either falling from (26%) or basing/spotting a stunt from height (26%). Other mechanisms include being thrown/falling from a high toss (10%) and falling from a pyramid (8%). Of the 125 cases, 3 (2, 4%) were admitted to hospital.

      Conclusions

      Most neck and spine injuries were related to stunts. Although the proportion of serious injury is low, the increasing trend for the practice of cheerleading calls for preventive measures.

      Key words

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