The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) does not recognize cheerleading as a sponsored sport, although 29 state high school athletic associations do. Classifying an activity as a sport ensures that athletes have qualified coaches, that practice facilities are well-maintained, that participants have access to certified athletic trainers and that they get sports physicals.
Lisa Kluchorosky, a sports medicine specialist who works with the academy and the National Athletic Trainers Association, said the statement may help counteract outdated attitudes about cheerleading not being athletic.
"The statistics are compelling and you can't turn your head from that," she told The AP.
In addition, the AAP made the following recommendations:
- Cheerleaders should be trained in all spotting techniques and only attempt stunts after demonstrating appropriate skill progression.
-Pyramid and partner stunts should be performed only on a spring/foam floor or grass/turf. Never perform stunts on hard, wet or uneven surfaces. Pyramids should not be more than 2 people high.