In an attempt to battle the high rates of concussions in cheerleading, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has just approved a new rule that will ban all high school cheerleaders from performing the “double down” starting this school year. College cheerleading will still allow the move, but girls will have to wait until they are in college to perform it.
The “double down” is a double twist to a cradle. According to the AACCA, “cradle” is the term for when a cheerleader dismounts from a routine, or “stunt”, and is caught by other cheerleaders, horizontal and face-up. The double down means that, before the cradle landing, a cheerleader does two full rotations in the air. The move is incredibly risky and, because of the height needed to do the twists and the speed of the landing, it requires great skill on the part of all the participants.
Susan Loomis, editor of the NFHS Spirit Rules book said in a released statement:
Data presented by the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee confirmed that the majority of head injuries in spirit are from body-to-body contact in stunt. The committee recognizes that the primary body-to-body contact issues are presented during double-twisting dismounts. Prohibiting double twists to a cradle is consistent with the NFHS focus on risk minimization.
Recently, the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a story about Madison DiGioia, a 15 year old cheerleader who hit the back of her head on a teammate’s knee during a doubled down and was sidelined by a concussion for two months. She also missed five weeks of school because of the injury.
Although cheerleaders may see this as taking something away from them, research showed that not only was this move where many concussions were coming from, the rate of concussions from performing it was actually increasing.
Research also shows that girls are more likely than boys to suffer long-term effects from concussions and traumatic brain injuries, making cheerleading safety even more important.
If your child suffers a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or concussion due to negligence in sports leagues or school, you may have a personal injury case. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We offer free confidential consultations, so contact us today. 803.252.4800