Cheerleaders are athletes who push their bodies to the limit day in and day out. With the intense training that comes with our sport, sometimes comes injuries in many different forms. With the competition season, just around the corner, now is NOT the time to get hurt. And to be honest, there never is a good time to get hurt. But when injuries happen the focus needs to be on getting better properly and fully, not quickly. We talked with Tanya Doerr, a Registered Physiotherapist and Owner of CheerMed Rehabilitation on Injury Prevention and Care to help athletes and parents stay smart for the cheer season.
Cheer Sport Sharks: What are the most common injuries that you see from cheerleaders?
Tanya: #1 injury: chronic knee pain due to alignment problems and muscular imbalances, especially as athletes grow!
CSS: Can injuries be prevented?
Tanya: Not all injuries are preventable, but if I could give one key piece of advice… conditioning, conditioning, conditioning! The stronger and fitter you are, the less likely injuries are to happen.
CSS: What is the worst thing an athlete can do when they are injured that prevents the healing process?
Tanya: Not keeping their parents and coaches informed when they have an injury.
CSS: What is a concussion and how does it happen?
Tanya: A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that alters the way your brain functions, with symptoms such as headache, dizziness, problems with balance, concentration, memory and more. They often occur when a force is transmitted through the body to the brain, such as from a hit to the head. One of the best things parents can do is make sure their athletes get Baseline Concussion Tested in order to allow their health care team to better detect and manage concussions!
CSS: What is one of the biggest misconceptions about concussions?
Tanya: There is no correlation between how hard someone gets hit and the severity of a concussion – sometimes what seems like a pretty inconsequential hit can still result in a severe concussion.
CSS: How can athletes who suffer from concussion heal quickly to get back to their team?
Tanya: Listening to your doctor, physiotherapist or chiropractor’s advice on cognitive rest and a step-wise healing process is CRUCIAL to getting back as soon as possible.
Tanya Doerr is a Registered Physiotherapist and Owner of CheerMed Rehabilitation. Tanya loves lasting friendships and bonds that cheerleading helps to create. “I cheered for 14 years and many of my best friends today (including my husband!) I met through cheerleading.” Now as a retired cheerleader, outside of work she loves to spend time with a new sport that she has grown to love, Crossfit.
For more information on Cheer Med Rehabilition, please visit their website: www.cheemedrehab.com