Cheerleading: Is it a Sport? 10/24/12
CBS 7 News Reporter
October 24, 2012
Midland - Is cheerleading a sport? The question has been raised for years and now the American Association of Pediatrics thinks yes, it is.
The association is recommending school districts to think the same and local coaches are supporting the cause.
Ask any cheerleader and they'll tell you that a lot more goes into cheerleading than pom-poms and skirts.
The stunts are bigger, the tumbling is harder, bringing more dangers to cheerleading than ever before.
"Yeah...I have a rib out of place right now," Amber Haney, Alamo Junior High cheerleader said.
"This one time I was stunting and the girl fell on me and I broke my mouth," Tori Lujan, Alamo Junior High cheerleader said.
Injuries are becoming all too common and more serious, prompting the American Association of Pediatrics asking schools to recognize cheerleading as a sport., to hire qualified coaches and provide the proper equipment.
“It’s not just a joke anymore,” former Odessa High School cheer coach, Lauren Wall said. “It’s not what it was in the 60’s when they put girls on their thighs. You have kids being thrown 10ft in the air and higher.”
When squads go to camp, coaches and sponsors receive training from the camp staff, but local coaches say experience is the best qualifier.
“We go through the trainings that UCA and NCA provides, so that does qualify us,” Lee High School cheer coach, Alicia Webb said. “If you have any background in it, they’re willing to let you coach.”
Coaches say that until schools recognize cheerleading as a sport and provide needed funding, people will continue to not take it seriously.
“It’s hard for UIL to consider it a sport when not everyone has the athletic aspect of it,” Webb said.
“It’s hard to get those coaches out here who want to and why would they when the all-star business is so huge and they can get paid what they’re worth when schools aren’t going to pay for coaches,” Wall said. “It’s very discouraging for those who do know how to coach when they can go into the all-star side and make the money they need.”
In the meantime, they'll have to make due with what they have and risk the injuries that come with it.
Schools in Midland ISD and Ector County ISD do provide proper mats for their squads to practice on for safety.
They encourage parents to be aware and get involved with any activity their child is involved in.