Cheerleading needs sports safety rules

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CHICAGO (AP) – The nation’s leading group of pediatricians says cheerleading should be considered a sport to make it safer.

In a new policy, the American Academy of Pediatrics says cheerleading has become a lot more physical and athletic, and it should get the same kind of safety oversight that sports get.  That would include on-site athletic trainers, limits on practice time and better qualified coaches.

Studies show that the number of cheerleaders injured each year has climbed dramatically in the last two decades.  Common stunts that pose risks include tossing and throwing cheerleaders in the air and creating human pyramids that reach 15 feet high or more.

The new policy was published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

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