A cheerleader in the sunset

SPRINGFIELD – Student’s safety while participating in a sport is a concern for many parents. To ensure safe practices are being followed at schools across the state, State Senator Julie Morrison passed a measure to mitigate injury for cheerleaders.

“Sports provide students with vital life skills and a sense of belonging, but they can also present an increased risk of injury,” said Morrison (D-Lake Forest). “Improving enforcement and knowledge of cheer and spirit safety standards will help prevent future injuries.”

Senate Bill 2861 was brought to Morrison by a student in her district. She suffered a terrible accident while doing a cheer routine at a football game, leading her to bring legislation her State Senator. The bill prioritizes cheer safety and the adoption of uniform rules.

In 2022, 18,007 cheerleading injuries led to emergency room visits across the country. Morrison’s measure would improve enforcement and knowledge of cheer and spirit safety standards by requiring interscholastic athletics associations like the Illinois High School Association to adopt the Spirit Rules Book published by the National Federation of State High School Associations. Once the spirit rule book is adopted, every team in the state would have to follow it. 

“Cheerleading — while a sport full of enthusiasm and spirit – can quickly take a turn if certain precautions and knowledge aren’t in place,” said Morrison. “It’s time we prioritize the safety and wellbeing of cheer and spirit leaders.”

Senate Bill 2861 passed the Senate on Friday and moves to the House for further consideration.