In a move that we’re sure cheerleaders everywhere are, well, cheering for — the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that cheerleading should be designated a sport at the high school and collegiate levels, “so that it is subject to the rules and regulations set forth by sports governing bodies.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, about 29 states already deem high school cheerleading a sport and there are about 400,000 high school cheerleaders in America.
As of now, the NCAA doesn’t consider cheerleading a sport. Criteria to become a sport recognized by the NCAA includes an “element of competition.”
According to data published in a pediatric academy report, and announced in the Wall Street Journal, overall, cheerleading has an injury rate that is lower than other sports like soccer and basketball but the rates of injury causing death or permanent disability is comparatively high. “Among college female athletes, cheerleading accounted for 71% of 51 direct catastrophic injuries.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that cheerleaders, like other student athletes, should have a pre-participation physical and coaches should be trained in the high-level of gymnastics-type stunts that many squads perform. The Academy also recommends that stunts and pyramids shouldn’t be done on hard surfaces.