Cheerleading is (not) a Sport
ESPN cameras are all around, hundreds of screaming fans are in the stands, pride and a big trophy are at stake; but no, the described scene is not that of a football championship. This scene is at The Cheerleading Worlds competition. The excitement buzzing in the air escalates as the next team steps up to put all they have into a two minute and thirty second sprint to the finish. Cheerleaders aren’t what they used to be. They no longer just lead the crowd with chants on the sidelines. Teams nowadays are turning cheer into a sport by adding elements of dance, gymnastics, and acrobatics. But these cheer teams have had to struggle the entire way to make it to competition due to a lack of support from their own school which they cheer for. Currently, cheerleading is not defined as a sport in many schools. However, according to an MSNBC.com report from June of 2009, cheerleading accounts for 65.2% of high school and 70.5% of college fatal or serious injuries among all female athletes. Nonetheless, cheer teams face a lack of funding and access to sports trainers, even though cheerleading is considered to be the most dangerous “sport” due to its overwhelming amount of injuries. Like any other sport, cheerleading demands great physical effort. Still, cheerleaders don’t have access to sports trainers and adequate coaches because not being defined as a sport means no funding, and no abidance to safety regulations. Recently, some cheerleading coaches and cheerleaders, upset with the lack of funding and respect for their programs, felt that getting cheerleading recognized as a sport would resolve these issues. They believed that if cheerleading was made an official school sport, schools would hire qualified coaches, provide uniforms, pay cheerleading coaches’ salaries like other sport coaches, and then the community would see cheerleaders as the athletes they are. Administrators and activities associations viewed the change in a slightly...
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