Bring It On: AMA Recognizes Cheerleading As A Sport
During its annual meeting last week, the American Medical Association approved a policy recognizing cheerleading as a sport. With the new policy, AMA will support increased safety measures and proper training for coaches.
If you’ve ever seen a group of cheerleaders hoisting each other into the air, you are probably aware of the rigors and potential dangers they face while performing. Recognizing the risk involved in cheerleading, the American Medical Association decided last week to adopt an official policy declaring cheerleading a sport, according to the Associated Press.
“These girls are flipping 10, 20 feet in the air,” pediatrician Samantha Rosman told AMA delegates during a floor debate before the association voted on the policy. “We need to stand up for what is right for our patients and demand they get the same protection as their football colleagues.”
Cheerleading is a leading cause of catastrophic injury in female athletes, Rosman added.
In recognizing cheerleading as a sport, the AMA supports added safety measures, such as rules for performing stunts properly, and proper training for coaches.
A report by the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators found that catastrophic injuries among cheerleaders have been on a steady decline since 2005—the year additional safety rules and training were put into place. AACCA, along with the National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS), created an online risk-management course for spirit coaches. The course meets requirements for both NCAA and high school coaches.
NFHS, the U.S. rule-setting body for interscholastic sports, is also behind the online course “Concussion in Sports,” which aims to help coaches, parents, and students recognize and properly treat concussion injuries in high school athletes. The course received its one millionth hit last August.
Meanwhile, cheerleading achieved another victory in Texas days after the AMA’s policy adoption. The state’s rulemaking body—the University Interscholastic League, which creates rules for academic, music, and athletic contests—approved a one-year pilot program for a league-sanctioned cheerleading competition, according to The Dallas Morning News. The “Game-Day Cheer” competition will allow participating squads to showcase their pep rally and sideline routines to a wider audience than just their home-team fans.