All-Star Can The Usasf Shut Down A Dangerous Program?

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May 18, 2010
I ask this, because my niece's old gym is a real nightmare. Many of you may remember a thread I posted a while back about her getting repeatedly injured on a Level 1 team, and the fact that I did choreography for this particular gym last year and was simply shocked at the lack of technique training going on there. It's a huge safety issue, and my niece finally went to another gym to fly on a Senior 2 team.

I come to find out that this gym is putting out a 4.2 team this year, consisting of all brand new, essentially level 1 kids. The other night at practice, they had a girl fall from a stunt and get a concussion and fractured neck. They had no emergency plan in place, untrained staff, etc.

I think we all know that cheer is a dangerous sport, but I feel that it is a gym's job to make sure their coaches are credentialed AND well-trained so that they know how to properly teach skills. I'm saying, not just credentialing- which is essentially just knowing the rules and I'm yet to see anyone fail it- but actual coaches classes, seminars, clinics, etc.

This is a gym who only competes at local high school competitions, and does not educate the parents or kids on anything. At some point, when does it stop? Do parents just not see anything out of the ordinary? I mean, when a coach tells a new parent that this is a dangerous sport and the risks come with the territory, I suppose they buy into it if they don't know any better.

My question is- how can we stop it before it gets worse? Or can we? I'm sure there are plenty of gyms out there that are just as scary- no insurance, untrained staff, kids being placed on teams they are not ready for, etc. I think there should be some kind of oversight by the USASF or something like it, but I realize that would be near impossible to do. I am curious to know what you all think of this!
Are these coaches USASF certified?! I'd be terrified to let anyone who wasn't coach me. The sad thing is that you said that the parents are uninformed, and therefore most likely have no clue what the USASF is.
My dad is building a restaurant here in my town and it's taken him and his partners about six years to get the permits to put up the infrastructure. Why? This town has waaaay too many rules and regulations, and was constantly doing inspections and whatnot on the property. But now, we know that at least the restaurant will be safe.
The USASF should do the same thing once in a while. Do safety "checks" on a gym, the staff, and the way it's being run overall, just to make sure everybody is as safe as you can be in such a dangerous sport like cheer.
I think you need to talk to the owner about it and tell him that his kids aren't ready for the levels they have been placed on.
Are these coaches USASF certified?! I'd be terrified to let anyone who wasn't coach me. The sad thing is that you said that the parents are uninformed, and therefore most likely have no clue what the USASF is.
Up until a few years ago Certification wasn't a big deal and there were tons of talented coaches that weren't. If it werent for worlds, i feel like many wouldn't have gotten it (and then the trickle down where usasf certified coaches were only allowed in warm ups for sanctioned events).
Parents should educate themselves about any sport in which their children are involved. I never cheered myself, but I have tried to make it a point to learn about this sport and what it involves. I feel that if I am somewhat aware of what to look for in a gym, I can hopefully avoid the ones that are not operating safely. Yes, there are inherent risks with this sport, but many accidents can be prevented with the right training and supervision. Do I believe there should be set standards and accountability? You bet! But given the resources and logistics of enforcement, I also see that this is a monumental task, at best. Hopefully once cheerleading gets the recognition it deserves as a sport, more regulations and standards can be put in place to make it safer and more enjoyable for everyone.
But then, you also have to wonder- What if the OWNER doesn't care? What do you do then? It's one thing if a coach is not certified and being unsafe, but what if an entire gym operates that way? You'd hope to be able to report it SOMEWHERE, wouldn't you?
Just a guess but I would say they couldn't shut a gym down and at most they would only be able to keep them from attending sanctioned events. Again this is just my uneducated guess.
I truely believe many parents just assume coaches are credentialed and wouldn't think to ask. They assume gyms are legitimately doingg the right thing.
Another thought.....what about the insurance liabilities? Wouldn't they like to know what goes on? It would be nice to see some PSAs about coaching credentialing im many club/all-star sports, the public are very unimformed overall.
Here is the problem. If there are a lot of those gyms out there doing things NOT safe - If there are numerous injuries - lawsuits will be made, rules will get changed, and our sport coudl be ground bound (all worst case scenario)
I think USASF has the right to shut them down. This gym is on the fast track to disaster, and it needs to be stop before someone is deathly injured. Governments shut down unsafe schools, and fire or wont even hire untrained teachers. Since USASF is the government of cheerleading, the same rules should imply.

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