5 Tips for Cheerleading Safety
Cheerleading injuries are preventable, if parents take precautions.
Contributions by National Athletics Training Association and Maura Judkis
1. Make sure coaches are qualified and certified.
At the middle school and high school level, coaches may be professionally trained, or they may be just a teacher who has volunteered to supervise the team. Make sure the coach is SFYFLC certified as well as have First Aid and CPR Training. Also, be sure that your coach has and follows a safety checklist.
2. Be sure your child’s practice space is safe.
Foam mats should always be used for training. Stunts should not be practiced on a hard basketball gym floor. Spotters should stand by when a new stunt or gymnastic move is being learned.
3. Exercise Reminders.
Warm up, stretch and cool down for every practice or competition and be sure to rest.
4. Conditioning is key.
Good coaches push cheerleaders through weight and strength training to prevent typical wear-and-tear injuries, like tendonitis.
Have trained spotters present and engaged at all times.
6. No Horseplay.
Focus at all times during stunting and tumbling activities.
Coaches should review safety precautions and rules and regulations regularly.
8. Know your limits.
Be aware of your ability level and do not attempt advanced level gymnastic or stunting skills before mastering less advanced skills. Always have a certified coach present.
9. Treat injuries. Right away.
Your child may be told to "tough it out," but performing with anything other than a minor injury could make the symptoms worse, or chronic. Cheerleading should push athletes to, but not beyond, their limits.