Is Cheerleading a Sport? Doctors Will Decide

AMA vote could help reduce cheer-related injuries

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 14, 2013 4:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – There are teams, uniforms, competitions, physical exertion, and plenty of injuries. But is cheerleading a sport? The NCAA says no. The American Academy of Pediatrics says yes. And now the American Medical Association will decide for itself, with a vote at its annual House of Delegates meeting this weekend, NPR reports. The decision is more than just semantics: Classifying cheering as a sport would mean more training for coaches in how to reduce and prevent injuries.

That would probably be a good move, given the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research says "high school and college cheerleaders account for approximately two-thirds of the catastrophic injuries to female athletes," according to NPR. Also on the AMA's meeting schedule: A debate on whether to back a ban on selling energy drinks to people under the age of 18, which physicians from the New York State Medical Society say are linked to an increasing number of ER visits, Forbes reports. The AMA can't actually regulate drink sales, notes Forbes, but it's a powerful lobby and its backing could add some serious heft to the proposed ban.

UC Santa Barbara cheerleaders perform during the an NCAA college basketball game.   (AP Photo/J.D. Pooley)
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