American Academy of Pediatrics Wants Cheerleading Called a Sport
Increased dangers in cheerleading have officials calling for more safety.
Brelan Fitzpatrick is just 9 years old and already learning how to do an aerial, a trick that requires strength, focus, and balance. It can also be a very dangerous trick if not executed properly.
"I'm probably scared about my aerial because if you don't do it correctly and you push yourself down and you don't bring your hands down you can land flat on your face."
This is just one of many cheerleading stunts that can have serious repercussions and have professionals calling for stricter guidelines.
"You'll see them actually go out there and tear an ACL, they'll blow a knee out. You can see those videos on youtube and it's actually really dangerous" says coach Kat Hamlin.
"Broken wrists, arms, ankles, knee injuries. There's a lot of injuries you can get from tumbling" says cheerleader Olivia McGinty.
Injuries like these are becoming more common as the practice of cheerleading becomes more skilled. A new Policy Statement released by the American Academy of Pediatrics says it's time for all schools to declare cheerleading a sport. Doing so would require schools to follow regulations set forth by the NCAA or other athletic associations. This would mean cheerleaders would have to undergo physical exams, have access to on-site athletic trainers, and have limits on practice times.
The Academy also says that cheerleading needs better qualified and certified coaches. Something that Top Dog Cheerleading Gym owner Darren McCoy agrees with.
"The sport blew up. A lot more people are in the sport today and when you get more people like that, you need the appropriate coaching to keep up with it and if you don't put the money into coaching, then you're gonna find that you've got a lot more injuries."
For a complete list of the American Academy of Pediatrics cheerleading recommendations you can visit their website at www.aap.org