Cheerleaders are stunting their way into injury after injury


Cheerleaders, Marcos Gonzalez and Jordan Miller, are posing prior to their performance at a football game.

Tiffany Vuong, Reporter

Orcutt Academy High School’s competitive cheer team is infamous for its players sustaining sports-related injuries. When 1/3 of the team is injured, this raises an important question: is competitive cheer too unsafe for students to participate in?

OAHS’s competitive cheer season lasts all year. From stunting at football games to qualifying competitions to nationals, cheerleaders are constantly putting their bodies to work. With all the physical strain, it’s not too shocking that approximately half of the team is injured in some way; some have more serious injuries than others.

Cheer captain Adelyn Gaither has a severe lumbar strain in her back from an overuse of tumbling and stunting. Currently, Gaither is back on the team, but she had to recover for 6-10 weeks before returning. “Cheer is very dangerous, I am constantly sacrificing my safety to make sure my flyer doesn’t fit the floor and land on my head,” Gaither explains. She explains how injuries are “hard to prevent.” Lumbar strain is not the only injury Gaither has faced; 2 years ago, Gaither received a concussion. To this day, she still gets headaches from that concussion.

Adelyn Gaither isn’t the only cheerleader to sustain a concussion. Sofia Solache received a concussion last season, around March, while Daija Baiza received her concussion on September 7th. Baiza got her concussion from “falling while performing stunts.” Now that she has returned to the cheer, Baiza recalls not being able to perform well in academic skills, due to her injury.

Sofia Solache is still dealing with post-concussion. Unlike Gaither and Baiza, Solache received her concussion during last season. She is still dealing with headaches, and has difficulty concentrating and remembering things. Similar to Baiza, Solache received her concussion by participating in various stunts.

Aside from “flyers” on the cheer team, Marcos Gonzalez, a side-base in the cheer team, is now dealing with back pain. Since Gonzalez is a side base, he constantly puts the flyer’s safety above his own. Gonzalez recalls constantly visiting Ms. Davis, OAHS’s athletic trainer.

Despite all the sports-related injuries, Gaither, Baiza, Solache, and Gonzalez all agree that the risks are worth-it. “I would risk my health because of the environment. The team gets along well and we all are pretty close. Going to practices, games, and competitions with people you can count on and have a good time with makes all the difference,” Solache explains. Gaither is in it for the “thrill of completing all the tumbling passes and stunts.”

At the end of the day, all of the cheerleaders are putting their safety at risk. However, from all the time the team spent together, the risks are worth it, much like other sports.