Will Official Recognition As a Sport Help Prevent Cheerleading Injuries?

by Carmen Dellutri on November 12, 2012

Naples accident injuryThe American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has joined calls for officially recognizing cheerleading as a sport. The doctors group argues that the evolution of cheerleading to include stunts, lifts, and tumbling has lead to more cheerleading injuries and that officially recognition would lead to greater protections.

The AAP’s recently released policy statement urges coaches, parents and school officials to treat cheerleading as any other competitive sport. This means following injury-prevention guidelines, developing emergency plans, and ensuring cheerleading programs have access to the same level of qualified coaches, medical care and injury surveillance as other sports.

According to the AAP, 26,000 cheerleading injuries take place in the U.S. annually. In fact, cheerleading accounts for 66 percent of all catastrophic injuries in high school female athletes over the past 25 years.

"Most serious injuries, including catastrophic ones, occur while performing complex stunts such as pyramids, according to Jeffrey Mjaanes, MD, FAAP, FACSM, member of the AAP Council on Sports Medicine & Fitness and co-author of the new guidelines. “Simple steps to improve safety during these stunts could significantly decrease the injury rate and protect young cheerleaders."

Below are some of the specific recommendations offered by the AAP:

  • Cheerleading should be designated as a sport in all states, allowing for benefits such as qualified coaches, better access to medical care and injury surveillance.
  • All cheerleaders should have a pre-season physical, and access to qualified strength and conditioning coaches.
  • Cheerleaders should be trained in all spotting techniques and only attempt stunts after demonstrating appropriate skill progression.
  • Pyramid and partner stunts should be performed only on a spring/foam floor or grass/turf. Never perform stunts on hard, wet or uneven surfaces. Pyramids should not be more than 2 people high.
  • Coaches, parents and athletes should have access to a written emergency plan.
  • Any cheerleader suspected of having a head injury should be removed from practice or competition and not allowed to return until he or she has clearance from a health professional.

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Naples accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.  

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced Naples injury attorneys for a free consultation. 

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