In 2014, the American Medical Association argued that cheerleading is a sport because of the athletic risks that cheerleaders endure. The association not only advocated to recognize cheerleading as a sport, but for better safety measures and training to be put in place to protect cheerleaders.
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. ... 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.
Cheerleaders are athletes. College cheerleading was as physically demanding and mentally challenging as any activity in which I've participated. It afforded me the opportunity to travel the country, paid for much of my schooling and challenged me athletically on a daily basis. But cheerleading is not a sport. Most definitions of "sport" include a focus on competition. That is how the NCAA, the National Federation of State High School Associations and the Women's Sports Foundation define a sport. Oh yeah, Webster's says that too. Sports teams exist to compete, not to perform and entertain or support another group that competes.
Yes, cheerleaders have practice; yes, cheerleaders have to have physical abilities to cheer; and yes, there are cheerleading competitions. But cheerleading is first and foremost entertainment before a major sporting event. They are there to hype up the crowd. That is the basic purpose of cheerleading, no?