Communicating for Cheer Safety

An old line of thinking used to state that “the coach is always right.” As amazing as most coaches are, they are also human, and can make mistakes. These mistakes can range from actual willful negligence in the worst cases, to the more common mistake of overestimating an athlete’s ability level, whether physical or mental.

In order to help foster a program that is based in safe practices, coaches should be willing to open up lines of communication and even take constructive criticism themselves.

From the very beginning, as teams are in the selection process, coaches should communicate to cheerleaders and parents about how the program is structured, what is to be expected, and how to bring issues to their attention. These issues can range from other cheerleaders that may be participating in destructive or unsafe behavior to possible violations of safety rules to expressing fear of a particular skill. None of these infer that a coach is not in charge of their program. In fact, quite the opposite is true; a coach cannot be in charge of her program if she is not aware of everything that is going on in it.

Consider a situation where a coach may have joined a program from a college coed background, and is not working with a high school coed team. She may have been hired with the specific directive from the school that they want the high school program to mimic what they saw in her college program. Further, there may be a long history of this high school program performing college level skills. If the coach does not properly educate herself on the different safety rules allowed for high school programs, it could result in a preventable injury […]

By |March 23rd, 2018|Newsroom, Safety

Staying Up To Date on Safety Rules

Being a knowledgeable coach is imperative to running a safe program. It is important that coaches stay up to date not only on the safety rules, but on the standard of care for coaching athletes and for supervising young people.

Years ago, we didn’t use seatbelts; now they are the standard. Cars didn’t all come with airbags; now they do.  Right now, the standard may be for driver and passenger airbags; the future may bring changes that make rear-seat and side airbags the new standard. Likewise, the way cheerleading programs were run thirty years ago no longer would meet the standard for today and today’s standards may not be acceptable five years from now.

Just in the last decade, there have been many changes in how we look at head injury, recovery from exercise, and stretching.

Coaches should stay involved in coaches’ associations and attend local and national conferences. There, they will learn the most recent standards of care with regard to training, rules, and even medical care.  Conferences will gather those who are experts in their fields in order to spread information to those who are directly involved in supervising the cheer program.

In some cases, especially with regard to new rules, updates may come after conference dates have passed. The new cheerleading rules often come out in early April. Coaches at these conferences should take advantage of the online rules training available in order to be knowledgeable about any changes.

Outside of conferences, camps can offer an excellent opportunity for professional growth. While cheerleaders are learning cheer and dances, camp organizations may offer more detailed views of new skills, as well as training on how to best run programs.

Coaches should also take the time to interact with […]

By |March 16th, 2018|Newsroom, Safety

Crawl, Sit, Stand, Walk, Run, Sprint!

If cheerleading safety can be summarized into one concept, it’s this; skills shouldn’t be attempted before they are ready to be attempted.

While that sounds obvious and oversimplified, failure to follow proper skill progressions is perhaps the number one cause of avoidable injury. Imagine holding a baby in a standing position before it’s ever crawled. Not only can you not expect it to stand, if you let go, you know it’s going to fall! While we can encourage babies to stand and walk, and even help them to do so, we know there is a progression they have to go through that can’t be skipped. Athletic skills like cheerleading are no different. Every team’s safety program should include the understanding and implementation of proper skill progression.


By |March 7th, 2018|Newsroom, Safety

Putting Your Emergency Action Plan (EAP) in Place

The most important goals of National Cheerleading Safety Month are education and awareness. Throughout the month, we will be focusing on ways to get the most of the amazing activity of cheerleading while minimizing the risk of injury. It’s more fun when you’re safe! […]

By |March 1st, 2018|Newsroom, Safety

CheerSafe FAQ


Downloadable PDF

Is there a governing body for cheerleading?
USA Cheer represents all forms of cheerleading in the United States and advocates for all cheerleaders – school, college, and all star (non school, club cheerleading) – to receive the tools they need to succeed, including proper equipment, trained instructors and medical resources. [View All…]

By |November 9th, 2017|Newsroom

CheerSafe Downloadables

The following images can be downloaded by clicking the image.

Cheer Safety Fact Sheet


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By |November 8th, 2017|Newsroom

The Truth About Cheerleading Safety

*Originally Published in American Cheerleader Magazine*

by Jim Lord
Executive Director, AACCA

Cheer often gets a bad rap in the media when it comes to safety. This is due to several reasons that require a long conversation about sociology, expectations, data reporting, misunderstandings about how cheerleading works and unfortunately, the reality that headlines attract attention. In truth, the risk of injury in cheerleading is about the same as other sports, if not lower.

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By |October 13th, 2017|Newsroom, Safety

Cheerleading 5th Lowest Injury Rate of 22 High School Sports

Another study has come out that confirms what we have known for a long time, that cheerleading is actually one of the safer sports available to young people. In the January 2016 edition of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ journal PEDIATRICS, Dustin Currie, et al., state that using the last five years of data compiled by the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study (NHSSRIS), injury rates in cheerleading rank 18th out of 22 sports, with an overall injury rate of .71 injuries per 1,000 athlete-exposures (AEs).

Concussion Rates Lower Than Other Sports

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By |December 10th, 2015|Newsroom

The Right Response to Youth Concussions

The New York Times is featuring an excellent series on concussions. Part 2 ran this week and it’s worth a read.

“As the number of youngsters who participate in organized sports grows and reports of concussions rise, it’s vital for parents, athletes and coaches to know how these injuries are properly diagnosed and treated to avoid long-lasting consequences. While preventing an injury is always best, limited progress has been made in keeping youngsters free of concussions in sports with a high risk of head injuries.”

Read the rest:

Last week’s installment can be found here:

By |September 1st, 2015|Newsroom, Safety, Uncategorized

CDC Releases New Concussion Safety App

The CDC Heads Up initiative has released a new concussion safety app, available for download. Designed for parents and coaches, the HEADS UP Concussion and Helmet Safety app provides instant access to concussion safety info—when and where you need it—so you can:

  • Spot a possible concussion.
  • Respond if you think an athlete has a concussion or other serious brain injury.
  • Help an athlete return to school and play safely.

Featuring: A new 3D helmet fit feature that teaches about proper helmet fit, safety and care.

For more information, visit: CDC Heads Up New Concussion Safety App

By |July 13th, 2015|Newsroom