Cheerleading is a great way for girls, boys, men and women to get in shape and show support for their favorite teams, but unfortunately, cheerleading is not without its health or safety risks. From the potential for falls to overexertion and more, people who participate in cheerleading activities face a variety of challenges. As a result, many medical experts are now supporting the classification of cheerleading as a sport so that participants can be protected by the same health and safety regulations that other athletes enjoy.
The Risks Involved
Cheerleading is a very demanding activity, both physically and mentally. Participants must be physically fit and active in order to perform the routines safely, and some of these routines involve participants falling from great heights. As a result, cheerleaders may be at risk for broken bones, internal organ damage and more if activities don’t go as planned.
Cheerleaders are also expected to perform for hours at a time in some cases, and if not properly hydrated or trained, this can lead to overexertion or even a heart attack.
Until recently, most people considered cheerleading to be an extracurricular activity offered by schools, or they considered cheerleading to be an activity undertaken at college-level and professional sporting events. As a result of this perception, cheerleading itself has not been considered a sport in many areas, and thus, cheerleaders have not been protected by the same safety regulations that other athletes have been protected by.
This perception is changing, however, as many medical professionals are now recognizing the physical demands and safety concerns faced by cheerleaders and are thus giving utmost attention to cheerleading safety.
Advantages of Cheerleading as a Sport
If cheerleading becomes covered under the same health and safety regulations as other sports, experts believe that this will cut down on the number of injuries that cheerleaders experience each year. For instance, if cheerleaders were required to take breaks on a regular basis, cases of dehydration and overexertion may become a thing of the past.
Additionally, if classification of cheerleading as a sport gets a green light, cheerleaders and coaches may be required to undergo safety training, thereby diminishing the possibility of accidents and injuries.
The Legality of Injuries
While the fight to make cheerleading a recognized sport continues, injured cheerleaders should keep in mind that they often have a right to compensation for injuries sustained during cheerleading activities. In some cases, injured cheerleaders may seek compensation from a school or coach, while in others, injured cheerleaders may need to seek compensation from a community or professional organization.
In these situations, it’s almost always best to partner with a personal injury attorney who will be able to help victims navigate the legal process. A personal injury attorney may be able to negotiate a fair settlement, but if such an arrangement can not be worked out, the attorney may need to file a lawsuit and pursue the compensation in a courtroom.
Cheerleading is to Have Fun
Cheerleading safety should always be your top priority in any event. If you’re participating in a cheerleading activity and you aren’t comfortable performing a certain stunt due to the potential for safety risks, or if you don’t feel as though you can continue performing, it’s up to you to let your coach or an authority figure know. The whole point of cheerleading is to have fun, so don’t allow yourself to become injured – always speak up if you’re unsure.