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AMA Says Cheerleading Should Be Designated a Sport


CHICAGO (WGGB/AP) — The American Medical Association says cheerleading should be considered a sport because of its rigors and risks.

The nation’s largest doctors’ group adopted that as policy Monday at its annual meeting in Chicago. AMA members say cheerleading is as rigorous as many other activities that high schools and the NCAA consider sports. Adding it to the list would mean more safety measures for cheerleaders and proper training for their coaches.

According to Dr. Julio Martinez-Silvestrini, a sports medicine specialist from Baystate medical, cheerleaders endure the same amount of risk and physical body damages as football players and boxers.

Suffering arm, back and neck injuries. Sometimes injuries are as severe as spinal chord and concussions.

Cheerleading is a leading cause of catastrophic injury in female athletes at the high school and college level, Dr. Samantha Rosman, a Boston-area pediatrician, told AMA delegates during floor debate before the vote.

“These girls are flipping 10, 20 feet in the air,” Rosman said. “We need to stand up for what is right for our patients and demand they get the same protection as their football colleagues.”

The new policy means the AMA supports having appropriate accrediting bodies declare cheerleading a sport, and supports better safety measures including avoiding inappropriate surfaces when performing flips and other stunts and following rules for properly performing stunts.

The policy echoes one adopted by the American Academy of Pediatrics two years ago.

In other action Monday, the AMA said transgender people should be able to switch the sex designation on their birth certificates without having sex-change surgery.

Most states make the operations a prerequisite. But the new AMA policy acknowledges that gender identity doesn’t always match a person’s birth anatomy.

An AMA report says identification documents that are consistent with gender identity rather than anatomy is essential to basic social and economic functioning.

The report also says patients deserve medical care that is appropriate to their birth anatomy even if they self-identify as the opposite sex.

The new policy won praise from the National Center for Transgender Equality.

“The AMA’s support for eliminating surgery requirements to update their birth certificate will send a strong message to states that lag behind on these policies,” Mara Keisling, the group’s executive director, said in written statement. “Currently only five states and the District of Columbia have modernized their policies to make it clear that surgery is not required to update a birth certificate.

“Transgender people should not be required to have any specific, costly medical treatments in order to carry the accurate and consistent ID we all need to function every day in the United States.”

The AMA’s five-day meeting includes Tuesday’s swearing-in of a new AMA president, Dr. Robert Wah. He is 56 and a reproductive specialist in McLean, Virginia.

Information from Lindsey Tanner of the Associated Press was used in this report.

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  • Publicdole

    Sure should. Tougher than any male sport.

  • That Guy 1

    Cheerleading is certainly an insanely difficult, physical task. It requires massive amounts of skill, bravery (I certainly wouldn’t want to be flung into the air, spinning with asphalt under me), and strength. It absolutely should be a sport…

    With that said, aside from eye candy in the professional environment for fans of football and basketball, no one cares about cheerleaders. As a former high-school football player, they were certainly fun to have at the parties, but man were they nothing but annoying otherwise. On top of that, why in the world do we need adolescent girls wearing skimpy clothing, dancing and jumping around to entertain GROWN men while they watch their kids play football? Am I the only one disturbed by this?

    Either way, ultimately it shouldn’t be a sport. While it requires all the physical and technical challenges to be a sport; there’s just no point to it. It’s too dangerous for those girls (you’d be surprised at the gruesome injuries they sustain), it’s annoying for anyone they’re around, their coaches are absolute nut-jobs that I’m completely convinced are on crack, and lastly, unless you’re actually going to make it pro, these girls are torturing themselves for nothing more than the chance to be the one boning the varsity QB.

  • Rags

    Yup. Then recognized by the NCAA as a sport. And then the cheerleaders can form a union and sue the schools for more money. That’s how they’ll graduate with no student debt.

  • alpinequeen

    They should make lap dancing an Olympic sport. Nudge, nudge wink, wink.