Former Cheerleaders Warn of Concussion Risks in the Sport

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Former cheerleaders are coming together to let the world know how dangerous the eye-popping acrobatics really are.

A recent study found cheerleaders suffer more concussions in practice than any other sport except football, according to American Academy of Pediatrics. 

Ryleigh Benjamin, 20, suffered a traumatic brain injury after colliding with teammates.

"She kicked her legs out too late and kicked me right in the side of my jaw. I passed out, she knocked me out cold,” she told Inside Edition. "I had some of my neurons killed in my brain which was misfiring to my limbs so that's what caused my legs to shake when I attempted to walk."

Benjamin also could not write for four years.

Kelsie Igasan says concussions she suffered while cheerleading led to substance abuse, drug addiction and depression. 

Alex Trefler, 18, sustained a career-ending concussion after her teammate landed on top of her.

"She came crashing down into the back of my head with her forehead,” Trefler recalled. 
 
She missed months of school and still struggles with impaired vision, memory loss and migraines.

Kate Robards was a flier, the cheerleader who gets tossed 15 feet in the air. 

"When I’m falling back, she's catching me and instead of catching me right under my arms, her hands just knocked me,” she said. 

All four women say they never received proper medical attention. They said when the injuries would occurred, a trainer or medical staff was not around to help them. 

Kimberly Archie is the founder of the National Cheer Safety Foundation, telling Inside Edition, "If I were to give a grade to the industry on the injuries I would give them an 'F.' There certainly has been an epidemic."

These women say they don't regret their cheerleading days but the cheerleader code of never complaining needs to change.

"Being a cheerleader you're supposed to get up, smile and do it again. You're not supposed to complain, you're not supposed to ask to sit down you're supposed to get up and keep going,” Benjamin said said. 

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