The sport of cheerleading originated in 1903, and has transformed from just a group of men leading the crowd of fans into a team of highly skilled athletes, mostly female, that perform difficult stunts and precise routines at sporting events. The sport has also developed a more competitive nature leading to its recognition as a sport and the creation of nationwide cheerleading competitions this past year. Originally college based, the sport quickly made its way into high schools, and into the hearts of spirited students everywhere.
Stunting is known to be the most dangerous part of the routine, and the cause of many injuries. Statistics show that cheerleading accounts for 65 percent of catastrophic injuries involving high school female athletes, the most common injuries being sprained ankles and wrists, back, head, elbow and knee injuries, broken arms, noses, and collarbones, and concussions. A recent ban at Hills West proclaimed that stunting, which is a mixture of tumbles, flips, and aerobics, was overturned last week by the school board. And so the question arises, should cheerleaders be allowed to perform stunts? Is the performance worth the risk?
A High School West cheerleader had this to say on the issue: “I don’t have a problem with stunting, I think it’s one of the most important parts of performing in cheerleading. Stunting can be dangerous when people don’t know what they’re doing or if somebody [is not] paying attention; but even if you believe you know what you’re doing and you are paying attention some things still go wrong but that’s with all sports.”
Parents are also concerned about their children’s safety while stunting. One parent of a High School West cheerleader had this to say on the topic, ” Honestly, I am okay with it as long as she doesn’t get hurt.” It seems as if the real problem is not with stunting, but just the safety and well being of the students, which is of paramount importance to the parents, Hills West staff, and the community.