If you have been to a sporting event, you may have noticed a group of people chanting and performing stunts while cheering on their team. These are cheerleaders. It is a sport that combines dance and acrobatics to entertain the crowd during sporting events. It has often been considered a sideline sport, but has evolved into intense competitions and tournaments. Cheerleading is considered an iconic part of American culture, and expanded all over the world.
Yes, cheerleading is dangerous. A study ranked cheerleading as the 16th most dangerous sport. This is largely because of the high risk for concussion and catastrophic injuries. Injuries at the ankles, knees and wrists are also common because of the repetitive running, jumping and landing that cheerleaders have to endure.
The first cheer team was formed by Princeton University in the 1880s, who formed an all-male pep club. These pep clubs were used as a form of crowd control. They were used to make the fans and teams enthusiastic while watching and playing the game. This is why cheerleading is so closely tied to football. Johnny Campbell is recognized as the first person to pick up a megaphone and organize a cheer at a football game, and the rest is history.
Whether people like it or not, cheerleading is absolutely a sport. The Women's Sports Foundation has narrowed the definition of a sport to these elements:
Cheerleading checks off all those boxes. There is physical activity involved in the sport, competitions occur every year, the sport is governed by rules and regulations, and they are nationally televised.