Dr. Philip A. Facquet, Smithtown
I attended a Sachem High School boys’ basketball game last week and enjoyed the athletic play and was impressed with the number of students involved in the game day celebrations. The competitive dance team and the cheerleaders added to the excitement for all in attendance.
While the quality of the performances were excellent I felt myself become anxious as the girls completed a variety of stunts from back flips, group partner lifts and human pyramids formations. While no one was injured many fell at awkward angles and several just missed impacting the floor as a catch was off center or they did not get enough spring during a back flip. I thought of the unfortunate Ravens cheerleader that landed on her head and neck after being tossed in the air during a professional football game last year.
It has been reported in the literature that the level and frequency of competitions and difficulty of the routines has contributed to a doubling of injury rates between 1990 and 2002. Sprain and strains are the greatest percentage of injuries. The next four most common types of injuries for cheerleading in a decreasing rate of occurrence is abrasions and contusions; fractures; lacerations or puncture wounds; and concussions. Closed head injuries account for 4% of all injuries and the older the athlete the greater the chance to sustain a concussion. The game has changed for our female athletes in this sport as they are now considered one of the most dangerous sports for females.
I have treated several cheerleaders from local area high schools and recreational leagues during the past few years and helped keep them engaged. Many presented with wrist and back pain problems. Conservative chiropractic care for the competitive athlete is a safe approach to utilize after an injury. The added bonus is the exposure to pain killers is less likely to happen when a parent chooses to initiate care with a chiropractor first following their child’s athletic injury. In 2010 a systematic review found that most research studies found spinal adjustment/manipulation achieved equal or better short to long – term improvement in pain and function when compared with other common medical treatments.