Sophomore Elise Ahrens has been injured twice while on the Simpson cheerleading squad – without any athletic trainers or other medically qualified personal there to help.
“The first time I got hurt, I lost a tooth,” Ahrens said. “I heard it break, but wasn’t sure what happened until I saw my tooth on the floor and I tasted blood.”
Cheerleading isn’t an official Iowa Conference sport but some colleges, such as Coe, treat it like one.
At Simpson, every official sport’s coach is certified in first aid, and athletic trainers are present to take care of injuries. However, since cheerleading isn’t a sanctioned Division III sport, there are few people around to help when a cheerleader is injured at Simpson.
Ahrens said the team was practicing a liberty stunt, where one girl is held up while kicking one leg in the air, when her latest injury occurred.
“The girl who went up fell, making everyone out of position,” Ahrens said. “I wasn’t hit by the girl falling. It was one of the guys whose elbow knocked my tooth out.”
Intramurals can also be dangerous at times. Junior Casey Howe, a student-athletic trainer, witnessed a painful incident on the intramural football field.
“During one of the games, a guy went up for a pass and fell hard,” Howe said. “He landed on his head giving him a concussion and a cut.”
When these incidents occur, student-athletic trainers can help, but they aren’t required to. They do what they can to treat injuries voluntarily.
“If you see someone hurt, it is natural to want to help out any way you can,” Howe said. “We may not get any credit for taping a cheerleader’s wrist or ankles, but if a cheerleader comes into the athletic training room, we will gladly do it anyway.”
The athletic training room also helps out with equipment for cheerleading and intramurals. Ahrens is one of many who has sprained a wrist and needed to wear a brace. She got that brace from the athletic training room.
“We have people who sprained ankles in Cowles shooting hoops or from intramurals come in quite a bit,” Howe said. “Some of the time, the only thing we can do is give some advice and ice it up.”
While there have been some injuries in cheerleading, Nicole Darling, assistant director of student activities and intramurals director, said intramurals injuries have been limited.
“In my five years at Simpson, I have only had 10 injuries reported to me,” Darling said.
Intramurals doesn’t have an insurance policy. Darling said it is an ‘enter at your own risk’ agreement. As a precaution, Darling always sends her intramural staff out with cell phones for emergencies and first-aid kits.
“My intramurals staff is the best method for preventing injuries,” Darling said. “During our once-a-month meetings, we talk about how competitive or relaxed the intramurals have been going. If there have been some problems, we go over some techniques to stop fights or rough play before they happen.”
The intramural staff has several athletic trainers on it. Even those not getting a degree in athletic training, are trained by Darling in first aid.
Ahrens said it would be nice to have the help available when needed.
“It would be nice to have an athletic trainer tape up all of our wrists before practice, but despite being hurt twice, it isn’t needed to have trainers around at all times,” Ahrens said.