The Emergence of Cheer and Their Injuries
By Chris Phillips
An estimated 400,000 high school aged athletes are now involved in competitive cheer throughout the United States. The sport has evolved from a mixture of gymnastics and sideline cheer, with the first club like squad being formed in the early 1960’s. Back then, early cheer teams used acrobatic stunts and tumbling to engage a crowd at a sporting event. In the 1970’s, cheer companies began holding competitions that were judged on appearance, crowd involvement, dance, acrobatics and tumbling. Today, there are over 500 member gyms within the governing body of the U.S. All Star Federation for Cheer and Dance Teams with the culmination of events occurring every year in April at the Cheerleading Worlds at Disney World in Orlando, where in 2009, over 250 teams from 30 countries competed.
Moving Towards the NCAA
The growth of cheer has led to the emergence of the National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association which currently oversees 11 collegiate teams including Azusa Pacific and the University of Oregon as the sport moves towards NCAA status. This new sport, called Acro and Tumbling follows all of the standards set by the NCAA where participating schools treat it as any other varsity sport. A meet typically consists of two to four teams that compete in six events including compulsory, acro, pyramid, toss, tumbling and a team event.
To read the rest of this article, check out the Spring 2014 issue in High School Illustrated – South Orange County for iPad, completely free on the App Store.