The Londoner, an Ontario, Canada newspaper, recently reported on the lack of risk assessment in the sport of cheerleading. According to the paper, recent injuries sustained by cheerleaders have served to remind us that cheerleading is, indeed, a sport- just like football, basketball and hockey. However, according to David-Lee Tracey, a long time Saunders Sabres high school cheerleading coach, many perceive cheerleading injuries as being “somehow different and worse than those of athletes in ‘real’ sports.”
Tracey told the paper that “when a rugby player gets a concussion, she was ‘playing hard.’ When a cheerleader gets a concussion, the sport, the coach, the school all come under fire. It’s like we don’t have the same right to ‘play hard’ – or our injuries are somehow different and worse than those of athletes in ‘real’ sports – traditional contact sports.”
In response to the rising incidence of concussions and other injuries, the paper noted that one school board decreed that its high school cheerleading teams cannot compete at events, unless parents sign waivers absolving the school district of responsibility.