Cheerleading Concussion Management

TBI is serious, and cheerleaders are vulnerable to concussion tooConcussions are potentially serious injuries to the brain that occur when someone receives a hard hit to the head.  Unsurprisingly, student athletes are at a much higher risk for concussions than most young people, and this includes cheerleaders.  Fortunately there are things cheerleaders and their coaches and parents can do to prevent and care for concussions.

Signs & Symptoms of Concussion:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Altered vision
  • Change in mood or energy
  • Memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Unusual clumsiness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Personality changes

If you notice any of these in a cheerleader after a fall or head injury, it is important to immediately seek an evaluation on the chances that the injury caused a concussion.  To help with quick diagnosis and better treatment, there are the following recommendations:

  • Give all cheerleaders a baseline evaluation before the season
  • Have a trainer/medical provider specifically for concussions
  • Immediately remove injured cheerleaders until approved by doctors
  • Follow rehab protocol after concussion

Rehab after Concussion:

After an injury that results in concussion, athletes go stage by stage, spending at least 24 symptom free hours in each stage before going to the next one.

Stage 1:

  • No cheerleading, dancing, gymnastics
  • Only low-level exercise

Stage 2

  • Exercise with a slightly raised heart rate
  • Sideline cheers and chants using arms OK

Stage 3

  • Moderate exercise
  • May add quick head movements to cheers
  • Mild dances
  • Thigh level stunts allowed, with extra spotter

Stage 4

  • Basic stunting and gymnastics OK
  • Limit to double-legged, chest-level stunts with extra spotter
  • Limit gymnastics to single-rotation, hand-supported
  • 2-minute break minimum between tumbling passes
  • 30 minutes max total participation
  • No practicing competition routines

Stage 5

  • Moderate-level cheerleading OK
  • Limit to double-legged, extension level; extra spotter
  • Limit gymnastics to moderate tumbling passes
  • Max of two rotations, no twisting
  • 2-minute break miniimum between tumbling passes
  • 60 minutes max total participation
  • No practicing competition routines

Return to full participation after physician approval

About Pete Strom

Defending criminal charges including drug crimes, DUI, CDV, mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, computer crimes, money laundering, and juvenile crimes, Pete also handles Federal and State investigations. Representing individuals in Civil Matters including Class Actions, Personal Injury, Qui Tam Actions, Defective Products, Nursing Home Neglect, and Professional Licensing Defense cases. Joseph Preston “Pete” Strom, Jr., the managing partner at Strom Law Firm, L.L.C., has been fighting for justice since 1984.

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