American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Resources

Cheerleading Injuries: Epidemiology and Recommendations for Prevention 
This policy statement describes the epidemiology of cheerleading injuries and provides recommendations for injury prevention.

AAP Guidelines to Prevent Cheerleading Injuries
In a policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics urges coaches, parents, and school officials to follow injury-prevention guidelines, develop emergency plans and ensure cheerleading programs have access to the same level of qualified coaches, medical care, and injury surveillance as other sports.  

New York State Education Department (NYSED) Resources

Competitive Cheerleading - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
A downloadable word document answers questions about competitive cheerleading, including recognition as a sport, coaching, and mixed competition.  

Q: When was competitive cheerleading recognized as a sport?
A: In April 2014, the Board of Regents recognized competitive cheerleading as an interscholastic sport by directing Department staff to revise the Extra Class Athletic Activities Guidelines, established pursuant to §135.4 of the Commissioner’s regulations, to recognize competitive cheerleading as an interscholastic sport, effective beginning with the 2014-15 winter season.

Q: How is competitive cheerleading defined?
A: Competitive cheerleading is defined as cheerleading teams who perform various athletic activities, including stunts, pyramids and/or tosses, jumps and tumbling.  Under the direct supervision of a properly certified coach, competitive cheerleading squads may perform during school functions, as well as in properly sanctioned school, section, state, and/or national events during a specified season.

Q: Must a competitive cheerleading coach obtain certification?
A: Yes. Beginning with the 2014-15 winter season, competitive cheerleading coaches must meet all existing certification requirements in the Commissioner’s regulation §135.4(c)(7)(i)(c) and §135.5.

Q: When may a school participate in interscholastic competitive cheerleading?
A: A school may offer competitive cheerleading in both the fall and winter seasons. Currently, each sport is assigned a specific starting and finishing date for member schools. Any necessary changes in such dates due to local school, league or section problems must be approved by the executive officers of the associations. The length of a season, including all skill testing, conditioning, practice, and contests, shall not exceed 15 weeks for Fall Competitive Cheerleading and 22 weeks for Winter Competitive Cheerleading.

Q: Will the Athletic Placement Process (APP) apply to competitive cheerleading?
A: As with all interscholastic sports, the selection process applies. The intent of selection classification is to provide a mechanism for students in grades 7 through 12 allowing them to participate safely at an appropriate level of competition based upon readiness rather than age and grade. For purposes of competitive cheerleading, the existing gymnastics standards of the selection classification process will be used to selectively classify 7th and 8th graders to the high school level pursuant to Commissioner’s regulation §135.4(c)(7)(ii)(a)(4).

Q: Will mixed competition apply to competitive cheerleading?
A: Yes. All schools offering competitive cheerleading must comply with the existing regulations surrounding mixed competition for participation in interscholastic sports pursuant to Commissioner’s regulation §135.4(c)(7)(ii)(c).

For further clarification on the New York State Education Department Commissioner’s Regulations for Physical Education and Athletics, please contact the Office of Curriculum and Instruction at (518) 474-5922. For inquiries specific to competition governance, you may wish to contact the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) at (518) 690-0771 and/or toll-free at (866) 598-2816.

Page Updated 7/22/22