N.J. lawmakers want cheerleaders included in head-injury monitoring

A Senate committee has advanced legislation requiring the New Jersey Education Department to include cheerleading in a training program to recognize head injuries.

Cheerleading is one of the leading causes of injuries among young female athletes, yet it was not included when the program was established by law last year.

Sen. Dick Codey said Thursday cheerleaders deserve the same protections as other student athletes.

“There’s injuries every year, serious injuries to cheerleaders, based on the flip-in-the-air situation where they’re not caught and they hit the hardwood,” Codey said. “And they don’t have helmets like football players.”

The training program helps school coaches recognize the symptoms of head injuries and concussions and sets standards for when injured athletes can return to competition.

The bill, which passed the state Assembly earlier this year, awaits consideration by the full Senate.

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