From the desk of Doc Smo: Cheerleaders beware! (Article)

Do we have to overdo everything in this part of the world? Look around and you can easily see that many of us eat too much. Ride around on a Saturday or Sunday, the days of rest, and you can see that we work too much. As a pediatrician who cares for injured children who participate in sports, I can attest to the fact that kids are often playing too much and too hard. I refer you to my pedcast called “When sports participation starts to hurt”  Overuse injuries are really common in today’s children. In my opinion, many children are over-coached and hyper-focused on sports success.


All this is a prelude to this week’s interesting article in the Journal Pediatrics about the rise in cheerleading injuries. Cheerleading is becoming a dangerous activity for our children. The authors of this study identify many factors for the rise in risk including obesity of the participants, more challenging stunts, and simply more cheering going on. Whatever the reasons, cheering today isn’t your grandmother’s cheering. Broken noses, neck injuries, concussions happen often under those pom poms.


It’s time for the pendulum to swing back to sports being mostly fun. Play hard and challenge yourself physically, but let’s back off the intensity and danger that have become so prevalent in sports, shall we? Sports are supposed to be activities where we have fun, get fit, and have only a small chance of serious injury.


Your comments are welcome at  Feel free to check out a large library of commentary and information on a myriad of pediatric topics that can be found at my blog.  Until next time, Dr. Paul Smolen


Smo Notes:

PEDIATRICS Vol. 130 No. 5 November 1, 2012pp. 966 -971(doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-2480)