AMA calls to make cheerleading a designated sport - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

AMA calls to make cheerleading a designated sport

If you have a child or teen involved in cheerleading, then you know how grueling it can be. Now the American Medical Association says cheerleading should be declared a sport. If it is, that would mean more safety regulations. So how do local cheerleading groups feel about the idea?

Ronny Brown has been cheerleading since he was a kid. Now he's a certified coach at ICE Athletic Center. At ICE, coaches are required to go through rigorous training through the US All Star Federation for Cheer and Dance Teams, and he says safety is key.

"If you land the way you should, you should never get hurt and that's why we as coaches would like to see more regulations."  

Brown has been injured before by landing on concrete and stress fracturing his two legs. He knows there are flaws in the system,

"There's no like regulation that a coach has to be qualified through the IHSAA," says Brown

The American Medical Association says most catastrophic injuries in females occur in high school and college cheerleading, and they don't have the same training as the ones at ICE athletic center.

He says lots of coaches are just parents; he's even trained some. The IHSAA website requires that cheer coaches take an online course, but Varsity Cheer coach at Penn, Rita Szweda says they have all the training they need.

"Working for Penn High School we look at it more as a support team with our football team because we don't compete," says Szweda.

She says she takes safety classes every year that are required by the Athletic Director, but they're not mandatory across area schools. Schools like Penn, who don't cheer competitively, aren't allowed to perform the same stunts,

"There's no basket tossing, no flipping, no twisting, we're not allowed to do any of that," says Szweda.

Szweda says she thinks the system is working just fine. "If you follow the guidelines and you're a cautious person and a cautious coach, then I don't think anything should be changed," he says.

The AMA hopes to see more regulation come to high school and college cheerleading, and made a statement this week calling for it to be a designated sport.

Brown says some area schools use ICE facilities for tumbling and stunting practice, for a safer practice environment. Here's a list of those schools:

St. Joseph High School
John Adams High School
Mishawaka High School
Northwood High School
St. Pius School
Schmucker Middle School
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