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Cheerleading A Sport?52:47
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Should cheerleading be formally designated a sport? The American Academy of Pediatrics says yes, for the safety of cheerleaders.

A Bowling Green cheerleader performs during an NCAA college football game against Massachusetts in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. (AP)
A Bowling Green cheerleader performs during an NCAA college football game against Massachusetts in Foxborough, Mass., Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012. (AP)

When bobby socks were big at school, cheerleading was pretty tame stuff.  “Gimme an A!  Gimme a B!” Pleated skirts and pom poms.  Today, cheerleading is full-on gymnastic.  It’s acrobatic.  It’s flipping and spinning and tumbling and way up high in the air.  Cirque du Soleil with school colors.  Its competitive form is full-on athletic.

Now the American Academy of Pediatrics says cheerleading should be formally designated a sport.  For the safety of all those flying kids.

This hour, On Point:  is cheerleading – should it be? – a sport?
-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Cynthia LaBella, Associate Professor in Pediatrics-Academic General Pediatrics and Primary Care at Northwestern University school of medicine. She is the co-author of the recently released American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines on cheerleading.

Katie Dowd, reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. She is a former writer for Yahoo News, where she wrote this piece on competitive cheerleading.

Kimberly Archie, a mother who's daughter was injured in cheer, she founded the National Cheer Safety Foundation in 2005.

Jim Lord, executive director for the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators.

From Tom's Reading List

Los Angeles Times "Laryngitis might once have been the worst injury a cheerleader faced. But cheerleading has become a full-on competitive sport of its own, with injuries to match."

Pediatrics "Over the last 30 years, cheerleading has increased dramatically in popularity and has evolved from leading the crowd in cheers at sporting events into a competitive, year-round sport involving complex acrobatic stunts and tumbling. Consequently, cheerleading injuries have steadily increased over the years in both number and severity. Sprains and strains to the lower extremities are the most common injuries."

Time "Cheerleading isn’t as aggressive as high-impact sports like football or hockey, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous. According to a report published in the journal Pediatrics by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), as cheerleading has become increasingly competitive, more and more cheerleaders are appearing in doctors’ offices with serious injuries."

Video

Here's a video from the 2008 Columbus High School state champs.

This program aired on October 25, 2012.

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