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Doctors Want Cheer Labeled a Sport

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — The American Academy of Pediatrics says cheerleading should be considered a sport, mainly for safety reasons.

The AAP released a statement this week saying it wants cheer to become a sport so it is held to the same safety standards as all other sports.

At Springfield High School–and at all Oregon schools–those standards are already in place even without considering cheer an official sport under the OSAA.

The AAP defined in its statement that cheer should be considered a sport so that safety rules are enforced, like mandating proper spotting training for cheerleaders, concussion training for coaches and mandatory soft mats for tumbling. But all Oregon squads already follow those standards. Even though the OSAA considers cheer an activity and not a sport, the safety guidelines are still the same as soccer or softball. So local coaches say changing cheerleading’s specification wouldn’t really be a change.

“Making it a sport is not the answer. In high school it is an activity, and our first priority is to support our teams, and I think that Oregon is doing what they need to do to make cheerleading safe,” said Janet Fryback, Springfield High School Head Cheer Coach.

The AAP claims, in the past 25 years, cheer accounted for two-thirds of the catastrophic injuries reported, like head, neck and spine injuries in female high school athletes.

Fryback says she’s never seen one of those, mostly just twisted wrists and ankles. She did agree that the states that don’t have those suggested guidelines in place should implement them. But Oregon is ahead of that game, even without being called a sport.

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