Tag Archives: cheer

Court Dismisses Concussion Lawsuit Against Coach as Her Inexperience Works in Her Favor

(Editor’s Note: What follows is an excerpt from an article in the recent issue of Concussion Litigation Reporter. To read the full article, please subscribe at http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)

A federal judge has granted a cheerleading coach’s motion for summary judgment in a case in which she was sued by a cheerleader, who suffered multiple concussions under her watch.

In so ruling, the court determined that because the coach could not have foreseen the injury, the coach’s actions did not cross the necessary threshold, or exhibit “a degree of culpability that shock the conscience.”

Describing the factual scenario as “tragic,” the court noted that, in September 2014, the plaintiff was a member of a non-competitive cheerleading squad sponsored by a local high school. During that membership, the plaintiff was supervised and coached by the individual defendant and coach, who had been appointed as a cheerleading coach by the school board in March 2014. Prior to this appointment beginning in the fall of 2014, coach had never before served as a cheerleading coach.

While under the tutelage of the coach, the plaintiff suffered the three injuries to her head, which form the basis of this suit. On Sept. 10, 2014, she was injured twice during cheerleading practice. The first injury occurred when the plaintiff threw another cheerleader into the air and the other cheerleader’s feet struck her in her sternum. The impact caused her to fall to the ground and hit the back of her head on the mat. She suffered immediate symptoms of dizziness, fogginess, headache pain, and being tired.

To get the details and read the rest of the summary, please subscribe at the link above.

Posted in Football, General, High School, Other Sports | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

NFHS Committee Addresses Concussion Problem in Cheer with Rules Changes

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Spirit Rules Committee revised several rules for the 2017-18 season, including adjustments to release transitions and inversions, in an ongoing effort to minimize risk of injury for participants in high school cheer and dance.

All rules revisions recommended by the committee at its March 4-6 meeting in Indianapolis were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

The term “static” was removed from several places in the rules book and replaced with wording that more clearly defines the intent of the rules. One particular example involves allowing braced extended stunts to transition in such a way as to allow for more creativity and better technique.

Rules 3-3 and 4-3 had extensive revisions to reduce risk of injury for the top person in a stunt in cheer and dance. The rules were reorganized and clarify the requirements that must be followed in order for the top person to be in an inverted position.

Rules 3-3-8 and 4-3-8 were also added to prohibit a swing roll-down stunt because the person in the swing is being moved facedown toward the performing surface. Additionally, in Rule 3-3-3, inverted stunts that go to a non-inverted position may pass through the inversion without having to stop in a stationary position. This change will allow more creativity and proper technique for certain inverted skills.

“The Spirit Rules Committee takes risk minimization very seriously and looks at the rules for cheer and dance to ensure the most amount of success – from beginners to advanced – with minimal risk for all involved,” said James Weaver, NFHS director of performing arts and sports and staff liaison to the Spirit Rules Committee.

Rules 3-2-7 and 4-2-7 in cheer and dance, respectively, allow for stunts that don’t end in an extended position to be performed without a spotter. However, a spotter would still be required for stunts that stop in an extended position.

Rule 3-8-2 in cheer and Rule 4-8-2 in dance now state that props cannot be held in the hands during tumbling skills, where the supporting hands are not on the performing surface. The committee believes props are a safety concern when a tumbler is using her/his hands for support during a cartwheel or round-off.

A new rule (4-10-14) states that when transitioning from a prop to a stunt/lift, the new bases shall be in contact with the top person before he/she leaves the prop. This rule minimizes the risk to participants when transitioning from props as bases to people as bases so that at no time the top person is free of contact from a base.

In addition, the Spirit Rules Committee approved revisions or removal of 11 definitions in Rule 1.

“The revision of definitions is to ensure accurate understanding of rules by clarifying the language and removing repetitive definitions,” Weaver said.

Posted in General, High School, Other Sports | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Appeals Court Affirms that University Owed No Duty to Concussed Cheerleader

(Editor’s Note: What follows is a summary of a decision involving a cheerleader and a concussion she suffered. To see the full story, subscribe to Concussion Litigation Reporter at this link – http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)

A state court judge in Pennsylvania affirmed a ruling that university should not be held liable for a concussion that a college cheerleader suffered in a training camp that was required by university.

The judge reasoned that the cheerleader failed to show that the university breached a duty regarding stunt instruction and supervision at the camp, which was conducted by Universal Cheerleader Association (UCA) at another university.

In 2010, the plaintiff was an incoming freshman at the university, where she was selected as a member of the university’s cheerleading squad coached by the head coach. Prior to starting college, she attended a pre-camp for the cheerleaders run by the coach. The cheerleaders, including the coach, then attended a mandatory camp at the other university conducted by UCA.

On August 12, 2010, while at the UCA camp, the plaintiff and three other cheerleaders were practicing a new stunt called a rewind. Three individuals at the base were to propel her upward, she would perform a tuck in the air, and the base would catch her. The UCA instructors demonstrated the stunt one or two times, breaking it down into steps, according to the plaintiff. On the first attempt, the base caught the plaintiff, but she did not fully complete the stunt. She was not sure whether her coach was present for that attempt but, she did not expect her to be there observing her group. Prior to the next attempt, she asked for more spotters in addition to the UCA instructor, and UCA brought in two cheerleaders to spot. This time, the plaintiff landed on top of her bases. While they caught her body, the back of her head hit the floor. She sustained a closed head injury, concussion, cervical strain and sprain, impaired vision in her right eye, and injuries to her jaw and neck.

(To subscribe to Concussion Litigation Reporter, visit http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)

 

Posted in College, General, High School, Litigation, Other Sports | Tagged , , | Leave a comment