Is Cheerleading a Contact Sport?

Generally, I'm not a huge fan of the idea of suing others for accidental injuries in sports. When you decide to take part in such extracurricular activities, you assume a level of risk. It's inherent in many of the games, especially football and wrestling.

In order to safeguard against this, Wisconsin law dictates that students may not sue anyone for accidental injuries while participating in "contact" sports. Tuesday, a ruling came down from the Wisconsin Supreme Court that cheerleading was included in this legislation.

Previously, the District 4 Court of Appeals had ruled that cheerleading was not a contact sport, and thus, lawsuits could be filed for accidental injuries.

Ultimately, the Supreme Court got it right here, but not because of how they defined cheerleading. As I insinuated in the first paragraph, it's ridiculous to sue a teammate for accidentally causing an injury when you already knew the risks involved in this activity. Cheerleading nowadays contains so many different stunts, mistakes are bound to happen. If you are too scared to suffer an injury due to human error, don't be a cheerleader. With all due sensitivity to anyone whose been injured doing so, everyone should know this going in.

On the other hand, calling cheerleading a contact sport is really ridiculous. Yes, I know it's a strenuous activity. So is marching in the school band. So is running cross country. This doesn't make something a contact sport. Injuries in contact sports are due to the violent nature of the sport itself, while injuries in cheerleading are due to teammates' dropping each other or not being strong enough to continue a stunt.

This isn't a knock on cheerleading. Not in the least. I played high school baseball, and that's definitely not a contact sport. It's not like playing a contact sport is some sort of a badge of honor which separates it from all other sports (I also played football, and I don't take any more pride in one sport than the other).

The issue at hand here should be the law, and how it is written. Why are the restrictions only placed on so-called "contact" sports. Why did the school district have to prove cheerleading was a contact sport in order to protect itself? Are you gonna tell me that when a baseball player slides into a base, and accidentally breaks an opposing player's ankle, that the injured player can sue the slider because baseball is not a contact sport? That's downright laughable. Let us exercise some common sense here.

Enough with the lawsuits. Make players sign a waiver that the only way they can sue anyone over an injury is through blatant neglect -- dangerous equipment left around the playing surface, for example -- or through intentionally malicious actions. Sure, they'll have to prove either case, but that's the point of having a legal system.

Society's already litigious enough, without having numerous high school athlete cases where someone suffered a freak injury.

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