PolitiCal

Why California cheerleaders are doing cartwheels right now

The state Senate on Monday approved a bill that would eventually classify competitive cheerleading in high school as a sport so it would receive the same recognition and regulations that protect the safety of other athletes.

The measure, which next goes to the governor for action, requires the California Interscholastic Federation to develop guidelines, procedures and safety standards to classify competition cheer as an interscholastic sport.

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Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), a former cheerleader, said the measure is justified because cheerleaders represent 60% of the injuries suffered by female athletes in high school. “The current lack of appropriate safeguards results in too many injuries,” Lara said, adding that it will result in improved training and facilities.

The measure, AB 949, by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), a former cheerleader, also would meanschools would pay the entry fees for cheerleaders for private competitions.

“This bill is about safety, access, equal opportunity and most of all respect,” Lara said. When asked by the Senate leader whether he had anything more to say, Lara said “Go. Fight. Win.”

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