Lifestyle & Belief

Cheerleaders need safety rules, say doctors


American Academy of Pediatrics said that cheerleading should be considered a sport with safety rules to go along with it.


J. Meric

Cheerleading is an athletic sport that should have its own safety rules said a doctor's group Monday.

American Academy of Pediatrics said that cheerleader injuries are rising dramatically and should be subject to more rules and supervision.

"Not everyone is fully aware of how cheerleading has evolved over the last couple of decades. It used to be just standing on the sidelines and doing cheers and maybe a few jumps," said policy author Cynthia LaBella, a sports medicine specialist at Chicago's Lurie Children's Hospital, reported NBC Sports.

MedPage Today reported that last year there were about 37,000 visits to the emergency room by cheerleaders.

ABC News said that that number is four times higher than in 1980.

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Experts said that the increase in injuries is likely due to bigger and bolder stunts being performed.

It is unclear, however, if there is simply more cheerleading in the US than there was before.

Many of those were serious injuries such as sprains, concussions and broken limbs, reported CBS News.

The new policy said that cheerleaders should, among other things, be subject to physical exams before joining the group.

They should also be required to do conditioning exercises before partaking in the cheers.

The doctors also recommended that a physical trainer always be on site during the cheerleading, whether in game or practice.

The policy statement was published in the journal Pediatrics.