Cheerleading Injuries a Growing Concern

Update: Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 949 into law, making competitive cheerleading an official sport in California. The California Interscholastic Federation and the state Department of Education would be required to develop guidelines no later than 2017, according to KPBS.

Update: California assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez introduced a bill that would make cheerleading an official high school sport. AB 949, otherwise known as the California High Schools Expanding Equality Respect and Safety Act, was approved by the Senate Education Committee July 1, 2015. If the bill becomes law, the Department of Education and the CIF would be required to develop guidelines for the sport by July 1, 2017, the Visalia-Times Delta reports.

Cheerleading has morphed into routines that resemble Olympic gymnastics. In hundreds of competitions, flyers are thrown 10, 15, even 20 feet in the air. Emergency room visits for cheerleaders have skyrocketed. Reporter Laura Ling tells the story of a 17-year-old cheerleader who is disabled for life after the force from a catch stopped her heart, causing severe brain damage. Ling examines what drives cheerleading teams to take greater risks, asks what parents should know about cheerleading risks, and explores efforts to rein in dangerous stunts.

Featuring Interviews With:

  • Say Phommanyvong, Patty's dad
  • Vilay Phommanyvong, Patty's mother
  • Kimberly Archie, founder, National Cheer Safety Foundation
  • Dave Kirschner, president, Spirit Consultants

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