The HARTFORD COURANT has big news today, but buries the lede. The newspaper notes that UConn has banned its cheerleading squad from performing gymnastic manuevers in favor of a “spirit squad.”
In other words, those crazy dangerous stunts you see performed during college sports events? You won’t see them anymore at Storrs.
Christine Wilson, assistant vice president for student affairs and director of student activities, said the change was made because “we want people formerly called cheerleaders to focus in on building spirit at UConn, on spending time working on ways to engage fans and to really spread Husky spirit” rather than spend hours perfecting stunts.
Of course, we know the real reason for the ban, and the Courant fails to even bring it up.
In the past three decades, college cheerleaders for some unknown reason transitioned from squads designed to rouse school spirit to teams of gymnasts performing death-defying (literally) stunts throughout games. The result has been predictable: untold scores of injuries, many of which have left cheerleaders paralyzed for life. And the injury rate in high school has been worse.
That doesn’t count men and women hobbled by needless, prematurely debilitating muscular and skeletal conditions after their school days because of the extraordinary pounding wrought by their cheerleading “routines.”
Those injuries, and lawsuits, are the real reason UConn has decided on the ban. But as always, the politically-correct university system has to tiptoe around the real issue, not once mentioning the appalling injury rate suffered by cheerleaders. From a recent report by the L.A. TIMES, via SbB:
Data from the Consumer Products Safety Commission show that the number of catastrophic injuries — those involving death or disability caused by head or spine trauma — have grown from fewer than 5,000 in 1980 to 26,000 to 28,000 per year in the last few years, according to Dr. Amy Miller Bohn, a family medicine specialist at the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor. According to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, cheerleading accidents account for 65% to 66% of all female catastrophic sports injuries in high school and college.
Then you get this comment in the Courant from a reader:
Another UConn alum here who thinks this is a complete joke!!! Seriously, we are going to look like fools. Total amateur hour!
jschilt (08/26/2009, 10:05 AM )
Look like fools to who? Do people really care that much about cheerleading stunts besides friends and family? Would the typical fan miss those stunts? Sorry to break this to you gym cat, but N-O. Especially considering the needless injuries.
I have a feeling this could be the beginning of the end for gymnastics-based cheerleading. And that demise can’t come too soon.