Cheer team works to prevent injuries

From broken fingers to back injuries, cheer team has been through it all. When people are being thrown into the air, the stakes are high, so when given the responsibility to ensure the safety of a teammate, it is key to have proper technique.

When the team gets ready to stunt, the coaches work to ensure they are as safe as possible. Rachel Kling, cheer coach, has been with the team for three years.

“When we stunt we make sure that they go through a progressionary stage. At first I teach them safety grips and how to catch and spot properly. They never move on from a stunt until they have completed or successfully done the first stunt,” Kling said.

However, despite their best efforts, the team continues to suffer injuries. Co-captain Cori Galante, junior, seriously injured her T-3 vertebrae, which has left her in a neck brace.

“Cheerleading is in the top 10 most dangerous contact sports just above football. Unlike other sports, we don’t have padding to protect us. Girls are literally being thrown in the air and the only (barrier) they have to the ground is someone else’s hands,” Galante said. “The entire group has to work together in order for the stunt to work. One person not paying attention can make a huge difference. Carelessness, lack of effort and poor technique can lead to minor or very serious injuries.”

Maddy Weise, junior, has been on the cheer team for three years and has seen as well as experienced injuries such as, broken wrists and fingers, fractured necks, and concussions. Both the coaches and the team have been working to ensure the safety of all team members. “Now I think we are starting to realize just how dangerous stunting is and we are taking more precautions,” Weise said.

While not all injuries can be prevented, proper technique and communication make all the difference when it comes to the safety of the team.

“Other athletes throw balls. We throw athletes,” Kling said. “These girls are high school girls but they are doing incredible things and they just need to remember to always be vigil and make sure that they are always being safe in whatever they do.”

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