Tag Archives: stunt
(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.
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Cheerleaders at Paul G. Blazer High School in Kentucky have undergone baseline testing, according to a recent article in the Independant, an Ashland, Kentucky newspaper.
The article goes on to note that “research by the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research has found cheerleading to be the leading cause of serious injuries to female athletes in high school and college, and that female cheerleaders suffer more severe injuries than do the male football players they cheer for.”
It then builds a case for why cheer should be designated a sport.
“Being designated a sport would open doors to more funding for equipment and facilities, medical care, more scholarship opportunities, stricter requirements for coaching and stricter safety standards,” the journalist writes.
(Editor’s Note: What follows is a brief synopsis of one of several case summaries in Concussion Litigation Alert. For details on this summary and others, please subscribe at http://concussionpolicyandthelaw.com/subscribe/)
A state appeals court affirmed a lower court’s ruling, granting summary disposition to a school district and coach, who were sued after a cheerleader suffered a concussion while performing a stunt.
In so ruling, the panel found that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate gross negligence on the part of the defendants. For example, the coach had provided weeks of training on the stunt prior to the injury.
The plaintiff was a ninth grader when she sustained an injury. After being hired by the school district, her coach became a member of the state high school athletic association and attended meetings and camps regarding cheerleading techniques, methods and safety. As the head coach, she admitted she was responsible for monitoring the safety of her players, according to the court.
Tryouts for the fall cheerleading teams occur in the early spring. To make the teams, players are required to complete various activities and skills. An assessment of each player’s activities and skills at tryouts could require between 20 and 45 minutes, and each coach completed an assessment sheet with comments. If selected, team members would practice two to three times a week beginning in April, and then attend a summer cheerleading camp.
The coach testified that to promote safety, her teams would begin each practice with 45 minutes of conditioning and strength training, which included stretching, running, sit-ups, push-ups, hand stands, weightlifting in circuits, and jumping. She testified that she relied on the association cheerleading manual, which explains how to perform every maneuver. She would explain the maneuver step-by-step to players, and when possible, more experienced players would also demonstrate the maneuver. She would teach the players the maneuvers in “progression,” from basic to more intricate or difficult. …
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