Is Cheerleading Actually a Sport?


Liz Copan


“You play football? That’s cute, you throw two-pound footballs while we throw two hundred pound girls. And, also, we actually catch ours.” Cheerleading is no doubt one of the toughest women’s sports out there, being the cause of 65% of girls injuries a year. But, aside from the injuries, the question still arises, is cheerleading actually a sport? The answer is yes because it has caused so many injuries and fatalities, like baseball or softball, and it meets all of the requirements to be a sport.

The main reason that cheerleading is actually a sport is that it meets all of the sports requirements. There is no real list of requirements for it to be a sport but the most known are: it must be a physical activity which involves propelling a mass through space or overcoming the resistance of mass, competing against an opponent is required, it must be governed by rules that explicitly define the time, space, and purpose of the contest and the conditions under which a winner is declared, and acknowledgement that the primary purpose of the competition is a comparison of the relative skills of the participants. Cheer meets all these requirements with stunting, competitions, mat size, time limit, score sheets, and ESPN competitions. Because this activity meets all the requirements, it should be considered a sport.

Another reason cheer is a sport because it is very dangerous and can lead to serious injuries. One of the most well-known injuries from cheer is the death of Lauren Chang on April 14th, 2008, which was about 10 years ago. In a competition the day before, her teammate kicked her so hard in the chest that her lungs collapsed. The two medics at the competition was already busy, restocking their supplies from earlier injuries, such as an asthma attack and fainting on stage. When Lauren Chang was kicked, one person said that the team just kept going on with their routine. During the routine, Lauren was struggling for breath and was coughing up blood. The two medics at the competition, both mothers that were attending for their daughters, were unsure of what had happened. They checked Chang’s pulse, listened to her heartbeat, and fought to keep air in her chest with a breathing bag they had found in the back room. By then, the ambulance had arrived at the stadium and Lauren Chang was taken to the hospital. She was on life support all night, and in the morning, she sadly passed away. Her mother, Nancy Chang says, “She loved what she was doing, and she wouldn’t want people to stop doing what they loved. She died doing what she loved, cheerleading and spending time with friends.” This death was on more of the gruesome side and does not happen to everyone, so the main reason cheerleading is a sport is because it meets all of the sports requirements.

Clearly, cheer should be considered a sport because it meets all the sports requirements and is very dangerous. It is a wonderful sport and is one of the best.