If I asked you what is considered a dangerous sport, you’d think of skydiving, racecar driving, fencing, or rock climbing. There’s one thing you probably wouldn’t think of — cheerleading.
But new research reveals that the most dangerous sport amongst women in America is actually cheerleading! According to a study by the Journal of Pediatrics, 66% of catastrophic sports injuries — meaning a permanent disability or medical condition — among school children happens in cheerleading. At college level, the statistics are even higher at 70%! Who knew pom-poms were so dangerous?
The worst injuries are suffered by those who are catching the cheerleaders, rather than the cheerleaders who are being thrown around. Being from the UK, we don’t have cheerleaders at school (sadly we don’t have prom, yearbooks, bleachers, or the homecoming dance either), but I always got the impression from American films that cheerleaders were the best looking, most popular girls and boys in high school. What I didn’t realize is how brave they were, too!
So which celebs twirled and jumped and were hurled in the air? See the slideshow below … some will be a surprise!
Halle Berry 1 of 12
Bond girl and Oscar winner Halle was a cheerleader at Bedford High School in Cleveland, Ohio back in the early '80s. In 1986, she was crowned Miss Ohio ... a Bond girl in the making for sure.
Cameron Diaz 2 of 12
Cameron threw her pom-poms in the air at Long Beach Polytechnic High School before she dropped out to become a model, and later one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood.
Megan Fox 3 of 12
Fox began her training in drama and dance at age five in Tennessee. At 10 years of age, after moving to Florida, Fox continued her training. When she was 13 years old, Fox began modeling. And in her sophomore year at high school, she was a cheerleader, before leaving school at age 17. Little did she know she would play a cheerleader in later life, in the movie Jennifer's Body.
Madonna 4 of 12
The Queen of Pop has always been known for her great dance moves, still rocking with the best of them in her fifties. In the mid '70s, Madonna was a cheerleader at Rochester Adams High School in Detroit — where she was a straight-A student.
Lindsay Lohan 5 of 12
Lohan attended Sanford H. Calhoun High School in Merrick, New York, where she was a cheerleader and excelled in math and science, until she began being home schooled at the age of 11...
Brooklyn Decker 6 of 12
Sports Illustrated model Brooklyn Decker has always been a sporty gal. At Butler High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, she was an avid cheerleader. Until last year, she was a regular cheerleader (of sorts) at her professional tennis player husband Andy Roddick's matches, before he retired.
Meryl Streep 7 of 12
Oscar-winning Streep was a cheerleader at St. Bernard's High School in New Jersey and also homecoming queen. Later she studied at Yale School of Drama before conquering the screen and becoming arguably the best actress of her generation.
Jessica Simpson 8 of 12
Jessica Simpson may have left high school at 15, but she was a cheerleader at J.J. Pearce High School before she left. While there, she unsuccessfully auditioned for The Mickey Mouse Club, but by 16, she had signed to Columbia Records and the rest is history.
Sandra Bullock 9 of 12
Speed star Sandra Bullock was a popular cheerleader at Washington Lee High School in Virginia, and she also performed in high school theatre productions. Bullock's mum was an opera singer, so she frequently went on tour with her mom to Europe and sang in an opera children's choir.
Kirsten Dunst 10 of 12
At at 11, Kirsten's parents separated and she moved from New Jersey to L.A. where she attended the Notre Dame High School and was a cheerleader. In 2000, she played Torrance Shipman, the captain of a cheerleading squad in Bring It On, a comedy that garnered her rave reviews.
Kirstie Alley 11 of 12
Cheers actress Kirstie Alley attended Wichita South East High school in Kansas, where she was a cheerleader until she graduated in 1969.
Fergie 12 of 12
Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie attended Glen A. Wilson High school in sunny California, where she was known as Stacy Ann Ferguson. She was a brilliant dance student and began to act and do voice-over work while still at school. She was also a grade-A student and spelling bee champion!
Photo credits: Pacific Coast News