Pediatricians Recommend Cheerleading Get Official Sports Status

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Cheerleaders everywhere will rejoice that the activity, sometimes marginalized as a sideline commotion, may finally be upgraded to sport status to help regulate practices and prevent injuries. While many say cheerleading is not as physically challenging as other athletic pursuits, cheerleaders are disproportionately likely to suffer a life-threatening injury such as skull fracture or spine damage when compared with other high school atheletics. Peditricians suspect it may be due in part to a lack of regulation on the sport. They hope to reduce these injuries by providing pre-season physicals, removing girls with injuries from competition, and giving access to experienced coaches for strength and conditioning exercises.

While the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators (AACCA) has recommended many of these things for a while, there are a few things holding the council back from designating cheerleading a sport and converting to all of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) requirements. First, they claim cheerleaders do not regularly compete, as many states require of other high school athletic teams. Second, the AAP would require that all stunts be performed on a spring or mat floor, which  the AACCA maintains would actually increase injury by compromising cheerleader balance. Currently 29 states recognize cheerleading as a high school sport, but it is not recognized as such by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The hope is that seeing cheerleading in this light would lead to better facilities, practice time, and certified coaches, and create reduced injury rate as a result.

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