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Cheerleading, not a sport, but produces injuries
August 4th, 2010
09:39 AM ET

Cheerleading, not a sport, but produces injuries

No, cheerleading isn’t a sport, said a judge in a July ruling.

In a case involving Quinnipiac University, a federal judge ruled that cheerleading does not “qualify as a varsity sport for the purposes of Title IX and, therefore, its members may not be counted as athletic participants under the statute.”

But it doesn’t mean that cheerleading doesn’t produce serious injuries.

SI: Is cheerleading really a sport?

Cheerleading has acrobatic stunts from towering human pyramids to jumps and flips that could expose them to neurological injuries such as  concussions, closed-head injuries, fractured skulls and necks during cheer stunts, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.

The National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that cheerleading accounted for 65.2 percent of high school and 70.5 percent of college catastrophic injuries among all female sports. UNC: Catastrophic sports injury report released

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons dispensed some tips on preventing injuries:

•Cheerleaders must have proper training with supervision during all stunts
•Cheerleaders should not attempt a stunt if they are tired, injured, or ill or outside during inclement weather
•Mats should be used during practice sessions and as much as possible during competitions
•After sustaining an injury, a healthcare professional must clear a cheerleader for return to activity
•Restrictions on stunts ranging from height restrictions in human pyramids, to the thrower-flyer ratio, to the number of spotters that must be present for each person lifted above shoulder level, must be enforced at all times


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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.