Mid-season injures plague the cheerleaders


Sophia Sanchez

KEEPING HER BALANCE: Junior Zoe Kanz and Emma Kloninger practice a stunt. The cheer team performs at football games as well as competitions.

Amilia Velez, Staff Writer

The start of football season has been exciting for the varsity cheer team, but concussions and various other injuries have been a major roadblock. This season alone, three girls have gotten concussions and the team has had to perceiver and adapt to have a successful season.

Sophomore Emily Gallia, a base on the varsity cheer team, got a concussion preparing for a pep rally. Stunting requires everyone to play their role and there is little room for error, especially in a pyramid, teamwork is so important and the team dynamic needs to be spot on.

“My flyer got unstable and fell out of the stunt so she grabbed my head,” Gallia said. “I basically broke her fall with my head. After she hit me, I felt dizzy, my vision went black and I saw stars.

Gallia’s concussion happened so quickly and left little time for the rest of the team to process because of the sport’s fast pace; her concussion was pretty jarring for the team, according to Gallia. With injuries being so common in cheer, a JV cheer member was able to step in and take Gallia’s place.

“The team didn’t really see me get hit except for the people around me, but once I got hit everyone was in shock,” Gallia said.

In a research study done by the Journal of Athletic Training, during a one year period, more than 30,000 cheerleaders go to the hospital for cheer leading injuries such as concussions and muscle strains. When Bowie cheer leading injuries increased, Bowie head cheer coach Alex emphasized the needed to strategize and make difficult decisions in other to protect the health of her athletes. Coach Alyssa Alex needed to strategized and keep in mind the health of her athletes, and had to make tough decisions regarding their injuries. She believed that while it was important for the team to push themselves, concussions are serious and the team could not afford any more.

“The athletes who were injured, for the most part, did everything they needed to do to heal quickly,’’ Alex said. “With concussions that means limiting how long you are in loud places and the amount of time you are on the screen, so they all had to make sacrifices to get better.”

Because the team had to push forward and keep practicing for performances despite the several injuries that were occurring, more responsibility fell on the healthy athletes to get their routines cleaned, especially for big performance opportunities like pep rallies.

“The team was very flexible and hard working,” Alex said. “They knew that the athletes being out might cause formations and other things to change, but they continued to work everyday. I was more than impressed by how quickly they learned other stunting positions and spots in routines.”

Using data from the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance study from the 2013-2018 school years, the researchers identified that cheer leading had the second highest number of concussions, behind football. In most cases concussion recovery can take about seven to 10 days to resolve, but sometimes these injuries can take longer.

After more cheerleaders were injured during this football season, some of the varsity cheer members, including Madi Noe became worried for their own safety as well as the health of their injured teammates.

“Watching people get hurt either during practice or at games made me a little nervous because concussions are pretty serious,” Noe said. “This experience showed me that I have to be careful because you never know what can happen.”

According to Noe, overcoming these obstacles was a huge triumph for the team. Despite several injuries, both major and minor, the cheerleaders were able to  successfully complete all of their performances and the injured girls are currently working on recovery.

“We just kept practicing after the injuries kept coming, we kept practicing our technique to hopefully prevent future injuries,” Noe said. “Sometimes injures can just happen because cheer is a dangerous sport. You just have to keep pushing through and do your best.”

In light of the upcoming competition season, Alex believes that the team will have to keep up motivation, even with the chance that possible injuries may occur. They have spent a lot of time practicing with different stunt groups and becoming more versatile.

“The team morale was more positive than I originally expected,” Alex said. “We were all stressed, but the girls were focused and really made sure they were all giving 100% so the program could still succeed despite the injuries.”