Cheer Injuries Skyrocketing Across The Nation

<p>Ike Cheerleaders</p>

Ike Cheerleaders

It's not technically sport--but it's participants are still athletes and still get injured.

The number of injuries from cheerleading has skyrocketed according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Madonna Nguyen is a Senior at Eisenhower High School in Yakima, and also the captain of the cheer squad.

And as a base on the team, she's seen some of her teammates get hurt during their stunts.

"Yeah, some girls have been injured in our squad. Especially if you're in the back of a stunt, and if a girl falls, you have to be the one that catches them," said Nguyen.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, injuries from cheerleading have been on the rise for the past few years.

Over 37 thousand cheeleaders nationwide visited emergency rooms last year, and the organization is calling for tighter regulations on the activity.

Mary Kay Velikanje coaches the Ike girls, and says she takes every precaution to protect their safety.

"When they are taught the stunts, it's done in a progressive way, starting from the ground, and working their way up to the more difficult one-footed and extended stunts that they are able to do," said Velikanje.

Although the cheerleading program here at eisenhower high school isnt considered a sport, athletic trainers say it doesnt matter you're on the sideline, or competing against another team, the risk of injury is still the same.

"It's basically an issue of recognizing the damage that is possible from doing that activity. Those dangers can happen anywhere from the sidelines of a football game to a highly competetive environment," said athletic trainer Joel Buffum.

Junior Lexie Baker says although cheerleading is seen more of an activity, she believes it needs to be recognized as a sport, so that people can understand the risks her teammates take every time they do a stunt.

"There's a same risk of anybody getting hurt, just differently, because we're throwing girls up in the air without any protection on. And so I think that people think it's just cheerleaders, but really it's more serious than people know," said Baker.

29 state high school athletic organizations across the nation consider cheerleading a sport.