Is your child part of a safe cheerleading program?
By Karen M. Lew
Are you sure your child is enrolled in the appropriate cheerleading program? How do you know if your child is being taught by qualified individuals? Is the gym actively involved in reducing injuries, providing a positive yet competitive environment and – most importantly – are they committed to the ongoing safety of your child?
If you have some doubts or have not done the necessary research to assure your child is safe, now is the time to do it.
Over the past several years cheerleading has changed, becoming more skill oriented, competitive and focused on talent, but one thing that has not changed is the need for the program to have value to your child and provide a safe environment.
In order to keep your child safe, take the time to review your child’s coaches, team and gym.
Direct supervision and practicing with a coach present is a must. Injuries often occur when cheerleaders are not being properly supervised or begin attempting skills without following the correct progression.
Follow these safety tips, recommended by the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators (AACCA), to help keep your cheerleaders safe:
- Required safety training for all coaches, including Sports First Aid, CPR and AED training.
- Access to certified athletic trainers to assist with injury prevention and emergency procedures.
- Adherence to recognized safety rules such as the AACCA, NFHS or U.S. All-Star Federation Rules.
- Regulation by state school athletics/activities associations to require adherence to rules and safety training regardless of whether cheerleading is designated as a “sport” or “activity.”
- Recognition by coaches, cheerleaders and parents that the use of skill progressions and the demonstrated ability to safely perform basic skills before advancing is the key […]