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Personal injury lawsuit demonstrates dangers of cheerleading

Cheerleading is considered by many in Texas to be a sport. It often involves trained athletes performing dangerous routines without the benefit of safety gear. This can result in serious injury, including broken bones to more catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord damage and traumatic brain injury. Such injuries, suffered by one junior high student in a dangerous stunt gone wrong, have spurred a lawsuit seeking compensation.

The young junior high girl was participating as a cheerleader on the Junior Varsity Cheerleading Team of her school on Sept. 29, 2008, when the incident occurred. During a practice session, she fell while attempting a stunt known as a double down acrobatic maneuver. The injuries received as a result of the fall included a concussion, spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury. Since then, the girl has experienced memory loss, post-traumatic stress disorder and other ailments.

According to her attorney, the stunt was inherently dangerous, leading to its being banned through much of the U.S. The student is seeking compensation for both physical and emotional injuries, as well as legal costs from the suit, which lists the cheerleading coach as a defendant as well as the girl's school district.

Though this case is from Michigan, it could happen in our state. Texas fields thousands of cheerleaders each year. With routines having a distinct athletic bent, many of these students are exposed to the same dangers as other student athletes and have a right to consideration under Texas law for accident compensation for injuries received, some of which can have a truly long-term impact.

Source: The Oakland Press, "Clarkston, Southfield school districts facing lawsuits," Dave Phillips, Nov. 18, 2012

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