Why cheerleading needs to be considered a sport
While cheerleaders used to stand on the sidelines shaking their pompoms (or cartwheeling through the crowd during pep rallys), in the last decade or two, cheerleading has become increasingly competitive and dangerous. The tricks these girls and guys throw are complex and jaw-dropping. And it’s now wonder that serious injuries are mounting—though doctors are quick to note that the total injuries caused by cheerleading are miniscule when compared to sports like hockey and football. Still, the American Academy of Pediatrics says cheerleading accounts for nearly two thirds of all catastrophic injuries to female high school athletes.
So what can we do to fix that stat? Make cheerleading a legit sport, the AAP argues. Why? Well, sports (as opposed to clubs) are subjected to strict safety and training regulations. Coaches and trainers have to be qualified, and practice spaces are typically far better maintained. As a sport, cheerleading could require all athletes to undergo a pre-season physical. Their strength and conditioning training would be supervised by a professional, and they would be spotted by people who are well-trained and thus capable of preventing serious injury should a stunt go wrong. The potential for concussions would be evaluated, much as it currently is for soccer and lacrosse.
Want to support the cause? Sign the petition here, have your squad make a presentation to your school’s athletic director and board of education, and write letters to your congressman.
What do YOU think, babes? Should cheerleading be considered a sport?