As Cheerleading Evolves, Injuries Mount

Experts say it's a competitive sport whose athletes need better protection

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As part of a recognized sport, cheerleading coaches, in turn, would have to be certified as to their proficiency in teaching key cheerleading skills, such as spotting techniques.

Beyond that, the AAP further recommended placing specific boundaries on the kinds of activities cheerleaders can be asked to do, including limiting human pyramids to a certain height and banning tumbling on hard surfaces that lack appropriate landing matting.

"There's still some of the feeling out there that [cheerleading] is not a real sport," Kluchorosky said. "But it is. And we're talking about real risks, so we have to try to move the needle forward and deal with it appropriately."

More information

For more on the AAP's cheerleading recommendations, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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