When Aleena Abrahamsen was 11, she started experiencing stabbing pains in her heel. The competitive cheerleader and advanced tumbler from Freehold, NJ, was diagnosed with Sever’s disease, a common condition that affects the heel, especially during growth spurts.
“It went away and wanted to come back,” Abrahamsen, 15, told The Post. “Sometimes it bothered me and sometimes it didn’t.” The pain returned suddenly during a cheer practice in 2019, when she was asked to do a standing backstroke – a maneuver she had performed hundreds of times.
“I thought, ‘my heel is killing me’, so I just shifted my weight a little bit. Then I landed on my left foot and my leg popped.” The overuse injury had caused Abrahamsen to overcompensate and as a result she tore her cruciate ligament.
As competitive cheer, which involves highly acrobatic and athletic movements, has spread and the sport has grown in popularity thanks to shows like Netflix’s “Cheer,” doctors are seeing more injuries on par with other youth sports.
A rah-rah-based accident is even the basis for the new Rebel Wilson comedy, “Senior Year,” premiering Friday, about a high school cheerleader who falls during a stunt and goes into a 20-year coma . Although it is a far-fetched plot, it is true that tumbling, stunts and flying produce bruises, fractures and concussions.
“A common injury in cheer is an ACL tear. If we look at the data 10 years ago, almost 90% of kids [with an ACL tear] played football, lacrosse, basketball, soccer and skiing,” said Dr. Daniel Green , pediatric orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery. The Post.”And we’re definitely seeing more cheerleading ACL injuries than we did a decade ago.”
Green also sees arm and leg fractures and growth plate injuries due to overuse, and stress fractures in the lower back from tumbling and gymnastics.
“Part of it is the athleticism of these young people. They are so strong, powerful and jump so high that when they land wrong it can result in an injury,” Green said.
Green repaired Abrahamsen’s ACL with a pediatric procedure that used her IT band. And during rehab, the tumbler got serious about preventing injuries, adopted a weightlifting routine and later joined the court to stay in cheer shape.
“If I hadn’t gone through this, I wouldn’t know how to lift weights and get stronger,” said Abrahamsen, who is now on her school’s track and field team and hopes to cheer at Duke after high school.
When it comes to brain injuries, a 2019 study published in the medical journal Pediatrics found that cheerleading ranked second in high school concussions, behind only football.
“I’ve seen quite a number of concussions,” Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital and former sideline physician for the New York Jets, told The Post. “But it’s not always a flyer that falls on the mat. They hit another person’s head in the pyramid when they come down.”
Glatter saw the bulk of the injuries while working in the Midwest, where the sport is more widespread. Still, he added, “We shouldn’t just focus on head injuries. By and large, it’s muscle and ligament strains, ankle sprains and orthopedic injuries.”
Glatter noted that the show “Cheer” has whetted the appetite for faster, higher and riskier stunts.
“Look at what they’re doing. They fly 30 feet in the air. If the guy doesn’t catch them correctly, serious injuries are rare as a result. I’ve seen a young athlete catch someone and break his lower back.”
Abrahamsen therefore emphasizes the importance of coordination, discipline and communication in sport.
“You have to listen to your coach, you have to have a good work ethic and fit in well with your stunt group. If you don’t connect with your stunt team, it can be dangerous.”
There’s good news: The National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research released data that found cheerleading has seen a reduction in major injuries since 2010. According to USA Cheer, that’s due to more restrictions, safety protocols and better training for coaches.
Both Glatter and Green said injury prevention, strengthening and sitting out when injured are also key.
“This requires an incredible amount of flexibility, endurance and preparation, especially core strength. That’s one of the most important things in cheer,” Glatter said.
And Abrahamsen hopes the pop cultural spotlight will change the perception that cheering is just pompoms and hand clapping. After all, she has the scars to prove it.
“People still tell me it’s not a real sport. “No offense to golfers, but I don’t see how golf is a sport but cheer isn’t,” she said. “When people say it’s not, I don’t even argue anymore.”
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How do you tell if ACL is torn or sprained?
Signs and symptoms of an ACL injury usually include: Read also : Bristol Inclusive World Championship Cheerleading Team.
- A loud "popping" in the knee.
- Severe pain.
- Rapid swelling.
- Loss of range of motion.
- Knee instability where the knee feels like it will buckle and cannot support the weight.
Did I tear my ACL or sprain it? The difference between an ACL tear and ACL sprain An ACL injury is either a tear or a sprain. An ACL tear is when the ACL is actually torn. The tear may be complete or partial. An ACL sprain is when the ACL is overstretched (but not torn).
Can you walk with a sprained ACL? The short answer is yes. After the pain and swelling subsides and if there is no other damage to the knee, you may be able to walk in straight lines, go up and down stairs, and even potentially jog in a straight line. The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is an important ligament that provides stability to the knee.
What does sprained ACL feel like?
Many people hear a pop or feel a “popping” sensation in the knee when an ACL injury occurs. To see also : Carolina Panthers and Charlotte FC bring back the Tree Lighting Festival in front of Bank of America Stadium. Your knee may swell, feel unstable and become too painful to bear weight.
Can an ACL sprain heal itself? Correct treatment for the ACL tear. Some mild, partial ACL tears can heal on their own, while other tears require surgery. The only way to know if surgery is the right choice for your ACL injury is to have Dr.
What is the most important position in cheerleading?
By learning body positions and the technique needed for those positions correctly, flyers will be comfortable in any situation. For this reason, freedom is the most important body position to learn. On the same subject : Notre Dame rock North Carolina: best photos. In cheerleading, body positions are performed on a “base” leg while the position is performed with the “pulled” leg.
What is the easiest position in cheerleading? It may seem like the easiest position in cheerleading is the flyer. Error! The assumption that because they are not required to lift someone into the air, it is not as difficult as being a base.
What is the hardest move in cheer? Tumbling is one of the most exciting elements of cheerleading to watch, but usually the hardest for cheerleaders to learn. Although cheerleaders do not compete with handstands in a routine, having a perfect handstand is critical to being able to throw roundups and backhand jumps.
Who is the main base in cheering? Main Base: This base is the left side of the stunt and helps with the stability of the flyer’s foot. In a one-leg extension stunt, the main base will lift the toe and heel of the foot to increase stability and prevent the flyer from tipping forward or backward and will be almost directly under the stunt.
Why are the positions in cheerleading important?
An athlete’s skills and abilities ultimately determine their cheerleading position. Physical attributes also play a big role, with flyers generally being the lighter and more agile athletes, and bases and spotters being the strongest and strongest.
What is the most important part of being a cheerleader? positive role models for others both inside the classroom and out in society. As role models for other students, cheerleaders can help raise the standard of academics, school spirit and behavior. At games, the cheerleader’s primary role is to support the success of others.