It amazes me that cheerleading is still not considered a sport by most schools. I have two daughters who were or are cheerleaders. They work hard to get their stuff correct. Cheerleading isn't just waving pompoms and tossing off a few high kicks. These kids are doing a hybrid of dance and gymnastics that uses the most high energy portions of both disciplines.
The biggest difference between cheer and gymnastics is the teamwork involved. Rarely does a gymnast have to rely on others to complete a skill. In cheerleading, the flyers can't fly and the pyramids can't be built without cooperation.
I've always thought cheerleading was getting the short end of the stick when it comes to scholastic sports. Maybe now that can change.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a position statement on cheerleading injuries today. The statement includes recommendations for improving cheerleader safety, including making cheerleading a sport. If cheerleading were considered a sport, cheerleaders would have the same standards for participation that other sports have, including preparticipation physicals and safety oversight among other things.
Some of the AAP's other recommendations:
- Preparticipation physicals and conditioning programs
- Certification process for coaches with a focus on safety
- Progressive skill building so cheerleaders don't try stunts before they're ready
- Standards for surfaces on which stunts are performed
- Limits on the height of pyramid stunts
- Athletic trainers or docs at practices and competitions
- Standardized safety rules
Finally, the AAP believes cheerleaders should have the same rules on head injuries as other sports, including removal from competition if a participant exhibits signs and symptoms of a concussion.
This statement is bound to cause change in the scholastic world. I hope it's the right one. Schools will have no choice but to reconsider the way they think of cheerleading and it will likely no longer be a simple activity or club. Hopefully the alternative will be to turn it into a legitimate sport, not to get rid of cheerleading altogether.
|| Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter Signup ||