My interest in the world of cheerleading began when I was in eighth grade. I thought cheerleading would be just a fun extracurricular activity that would not be too demanding, but little did I know cheerleading would soon become my life. I have cheered competitively and for my high school cheer team for four years, and I am planning to continue to cheer as I enter college. Because of my strong investment in cheer, I have decided to conduct research on the safety of cheerleading as well as the athleticism it requires and why it should be considered a sport.
Cheerleading’s rising popularity has led to new research on the safety of today’s cheer stunts and skills. As a cheerleader, I have witnessed many of the injuries and dangers associated with the required elements of a modern cheer squad. Common injuries include fractured wrists, ankles, and even necks. I have been dropped from stunts multiple times, causing a sprained ankle and lots of bruising. It is necessary for cheerleaders today to be all around athletic so they will be able to perform the necessary tumbling, dance, and stunting skills. Cheerleaders today are no longer just chanting on the sideline, they are being thrown 20 feet into the air and doing complex acrobatic skills. Many today are still doubtful whether they consider cheerleading to be a true sport even with its high physical demands.
The bibliography that follows includes three articles discussing the dangers and athleticism of cheerleading. The first two articles “Cheerleading gets Tough” and “As Cheerleaders Soar Higher so does the Danger” focus mainly on injuries and the changes cheerleading has undergone recently, while the last article “Is Cheerleading a Sport” focuses mainly on cheerleading being an official sport. I plan to continue my research on this topic so people may better understand the changes that cheerleading has undergone in the past decade as well as why it should be considered a sport.
Campo-Flores, Arian. “Cheerleading Gets Tough.” Newsweek 137.21 (2001): 50. Academic Search Premier. Web. 6 Apr. 2016.
Arian Campo-Flores newspaper article “Cheerleading Gets Tough” focuses on the dangers and athleticism of all-star cheerleading. The article focuses on 17 year-old cheerleader Erykah Ward who, along with 400 others, tried out for one of the nation’s largest all-star cheerleading gyms, Cheer Athletics. Ward quickly realized that “competitive cheering is no joke.” The article goes on to mention about how demanding the sport of cheerleading has become over time, and the amount of pressure placed on all-star cheerleaders is extremely high. The article also notes how the sport is now attracting more male cheerleaders than ever, many of whom are athletes such as football players. One male cheerleader remarks, “if you think cheerleading is for sissies, see if you can handle it.” The article ends by reiterating the intensity of all-star cheerleading and how all teams strive for perfection with one goal in mind, winning.
Pennington, Bill. “As Cheerleaders Soar Higher, So Does the Danger.” The New York Times 31 Mar. 2007: Web. 8 Apr. 2016.
Bill Pennington’s New York Times article focuses on the rising danger in the sport of cheerleading. The article gives statistics on the increasing number of cheerleading related injuries, stating that “emergency room visits for cheerleading injuries nationwide have more than doubled since the early 1990’s.” The article gives specific examples of cheerleaders who have suffered multiple, possibly deadly injuries such as a broken neck. The article continues to mention how much cheerleading has changed from the past. Cheerleaders used to be only on the sidelines yelling chants, now they are being thrown into the air to perform complex tricks.
Many cheerleading organizations counter that “cheerleading is not dangerous for an overwhelming majority” and that “cheerleading is working hard to become safer.” Nevertheless, the article states that there is a disproportional number of injuries when compared to the number of participants. The main reason given for this ratio is “inadequate training of coaches.”
Bonesteel, Matt. “Is Cheerleading a Sport? The American Medical Association Thinks So.” The Washington Post. 10 June 2014. Web. 9 Apr. 2016.
Bonsteel’s article from The Washington Post focuses on the debate on whether cheerleading should be considered an official sport. The American Medical Association argues that cheerleading should be considered an official sport “because of its rigors and risks.” Cheerleading is just as rigorous as many other traditional sports, and is the leading cause of catastrophic injuries at the high school and college level. The article also mentions how the AMA hopes to better regulate cheer safety by making sure flipping and stunts are performed on appropriate surfaces.
The article ends by telling how governing bodies are trying to propose to the NCAA that cheerleading should be classified as an “emerging sport for young women.” Cheerleading organizations such as USA Cheerleading advocated for stunts and tumbling to be added to the NCAA’s definition of cheerleading, and are trying to make a proposal for cheerleading to become an official sport in the future.