Cheerleader's story warns of concussion risks - KCTV5

Cheerleader's story warns of concussion risks

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A lot of attention is paid to student athletes and how to keep them safe from injury, but people on the sidelines of the games are at risk too.

Repeating four words like cat, basket, chair, pencil seems like a simple test for St. James Academy sophomore Stacy Green, but when a person has a concussion, it can be a tough task to tackle.

"We were doing a new stunt and we didn't make it and I fell forward and hit my head on someone else's head," Green said.

It was a solid conk to the noggin that didn't seem that bad until Green got home.

"When I pulled into the garage I told my mom, ‘I think I have a concussion,'" she said.

Dr. James Roberson is a sports medicine doctor at Children's Mercy Hospital and he sees his fair share of cheerleading-related injuries.

"Same injuries you see in every sport - ankle injuries, sprains, knee, overuse injuries, obviously concussion is a component," he said.

For anyone who has been to a high school game recently, they can see where the injuries come from. Long gone are the days of girls standing on the sidelines with their pom poms. From tosses and spins to pyramids, cheerleaders are considered athletes and what they do takes a lot of hard work.

In the U.S., there are 3.6 million kids ages 6 and older involved in cheerleading and more than 26,000 injuries are reported a year. Some experts say cheerleading is to blame for 66 percent of catastrophic injuries in high school female athletes over the last 25 years.

For Green, it was a couple weeks of sitting out, even missing out on the big Homecoming game.

But she's hoping her experience can serve as a reminder that just because she's not in the middle of the field doesn't mean she's not at risk.

"I don't think there's enough awareness of that. We should make that known more. I know in cheerleading you have more support because you have bases, but it's still easy to get a concussion," she said.

Click here for more information on how to recognize the symptoms of concussions if your children are involved in sports.

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