Sunday, July 05, 2009

A cheerleading PS

A recently released study from University of North Carolina says, not surprisingly, that cheerleading is the most injury-laden women's sport.
So while the status of cheerleading may be somewhat contested these days, the fact that it is dangerous is not.
This is not to say that because cheerleading is dangerous, it should not be given status as a sport. After all how would we defend football and ice hockey? One might even argue that because cheerleading has not been a sport, it has produced more injuries. The cheerleading governing system is a little different than, for example, the NCAA. It is possible that a more authoritative governing body could reduce injuries by regulating things like throws, tosses, etc. or mandating certain safety measures.
So I mention it here not as a condemnation of making cheerleading a sport, but rather a reminder to those who seek to elevate it varsity status at their respective institutions. Cheerleading requires the same attention as other sports. And based on the injury rates, it is going to require a lot of access to medical personnel; trainers and doctors who travel with the team to competitions, etc. In other words, you cannot just add it and think it is going to take care of itself or be a team you can pay minimal attention to. Because if you elevated it to help with some Title IX inequities in the participation numbers, you're just creating more by not providing equitable treatment.