Saturday, January 21, 2012

How to Reduce Injuries in Cheerleading?

When performing a cheerleading routine that involves stunts and dance moves, you are filling a position to ensure the stunt is carried out safely and precisely. Depending on the stunt, there are a number of necessary positions, and some of these carry a lower possibility of injury than others.
Stunt Positions
Stunting is a key element in cheerleading and brings about the "wow" factor from the audience as cheerleaders fly through the air in elaborately choreographed routines, according to the iSport Cheerleading website. As part of a group stunt, you assume a specific position that enables your team to carry out the stunt. Your position likely is assigned to you based on a number of factors, including your size, body type, experience and physical abilities. There are four main positions in most stunts: Back base, main base, secondary base and flier.
Support Positions
In the back base position, you need a lot of upper body strength, as you are lifting the flier — the person who is lifted and thrown in the air. If you're in the back base position, you are the primary person catching the flier, leading to a greater risk of injury from being hit by the flier's limbs or body as she comes down. Cheerleaders in the main base and secondary base positions work together to provide stability for the stunt. According to iSport Cheerleading, cheerleaders in these positions usually run the greatest risk of getting banged up when catching the flier.
The Flier
The flier not only is the "star" of the stunt, but also is likely to incur the lowest degree of injury. As flier, you are tossed and caught, and it is your arms and legs that are smashing down on cheerleaders in the side and back base positions who are assigned to catch and throw you. As flier, your greatest risk of injury comes from being dropped or improperly caught. This is possible but unlikely; not only does your team rehearse your stunt repeatedly to perform it properly, but there are several people responsible for catching you -- the possibility that all of them would fail to catch you simultaneously seems unlikely, leading to the conclusion that flier appears to be the safest cheerleading position.
According to the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators, there are a variety of measures you can take to ensure cheerleading stunts are performed safely. In its College Cheerleading Safety Rules for 2011-2012, the organization lays out a list of rules designed to increase that safety. These include: Ensuring all practices take place under the guidance of a qualified coach or adviser; ensuring cheerleaders receive mandatory training in proper spotting techniques, and also receive proper training before attempting a stunt involving gymnastics; and performing an appropriate warm-up routine prior to every practice and event.

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