Archive for the ‘Cheerleading’ Category

American Youth Cheer Releases Study on Injury Trends 2005-15

Posted | Filed under Cheerleading

American Youth Cheer (AYC), the cheer division of American Youth Football (AYF), has released a study of injuries reported under its Accident insurance program through the endorsed insurance provider, Sadler Sports & Recreation Insurance.

The study consists of 183 injuries reported from 2005 to 2015 for cheerleaders ages 5 to 18 with the vast majority in the 5 to 15 age group. AYC includes both sideline cheer and competitive cheer.  The injury descriptions are collected on an injury report form that is completed by the authorized cheer coach prior to submitting an insurance claim. Page 3 of the AYC injury report includes 20 questions about the circumstances of each injury and the answers are entered into a database from which reports are generated.

Importance of the AYC study

Cheerleading has evolved from a primarily sideline activity into highly competitive sport with more complex stunts and gymnastics-like maneuvers. Even sideline cheer has adopted some of the same stunts and maneuvers. This has greatly increased the risk factors involved. As a result, injuries have risen dramatically, as reported by many sources.

Cheer injury studies are scarce due to the fragmented nature of the industry with so many sanctioning bodies and lack of injury data collection. An excellent article published in 2012 by the Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association entitled  “Cheerleading Injuries: A Narrative Review of The Literature” compiles the results from 23 unique articles on cheerleader injuries.  The ongoing AYC study which began in 2005 provides a consistent source of additional information on cheer injury trends.

Limitations of the AYC study

Since all injuries are reported from Accident insurance claims, the AYC study overstates the more serious injuries that require outside medical treatment and understates the minor injuries where medical treatment was not sought or where an on-site trainer provided treatment. In addition, the number of total claims in the database is surprisingly low taking into account the number of cheer participants at risk. However, the study does represent a reasonably accurate overview of the types of cheer injury trends that occur within AYC and youth cheer as a whole.

Cheer injuries are much less frequent than football injuries in combined program

Between 2005 and 2015, 183 cheer injuries were captured within AYC.  Over the same time period, 3,855 football injuries were reported within AYF. Cheer injuries only account for approximately 4.5% of the injuries that occur in the combined AYF/AYC program. However, after taking into account that football players outnumber cheerleaders by a wide margin in the combined program, the participant adjusted percentage of injuries attributable to cheer is approximately 14%.

Catastrophic cheer injuries in AYC

According to the National Center For Catastrophic Sports Injury Research report, “Catastrophic Sports Injury Research: 1982-2014,” cheerleading has the highest catastrophic injury rate of all high school sports. Fortunately, the AYC Accident insurance program has never experienced a catastrophic injury claim. However, local cheer program administrators and staff must always be vigilant of the potential for catastrophic injuries in cheer, and as a result should implement the risk management suggestions that appear later in this article.

Absence from play after an injury

3+ weeks 30%
1 – 3 weeks 26%
1-7 days 14%
None 13%
Not answered/unknown 17%
TOTAL 100%

Note that many of the less serious injuries were never reported as Accident insurance claims. As a result, this category tends to overstate the length of absence from play.

When injury occurred

Practice 76%
Before game/practice 7%
Competitive cheer event 5%
After game/practice 4%
Halftime 2%
Sideline 1%
Other 5%
Total 100%

Other studies have confirmed that the majority of cheer injuries occur during practice. Not only are more hours devoted to practice than play, but new tumbles and stunts are learned during practice. It makes sense that learning a new tumble or stunt entails a higher risk of injury.

Location of injury

Indoor practice area 45%
Field 22%
Sidelines 6%
Outdoor practice area 5%
Indoor competition area 4%
Practice field 3%
Other 15%
TOTAL 100%

Once again, these results confirm that most injuries occur during practice.

Surface type

Grass 37%
Flat, non-spring 26%
Mat 17%
Spring 9%
Concrete 6%
Other 5%
TOTAL 100%

Body part injured

Head/temple 12%
Ankle 10%
Knee 10%
Wrist 9%
Elbow 8%
Shoulder/collarbone 8%
Forearm 8%
Mouth/teetch 7%
Neck 5%
Upper arm 3%
Back 3%
Nose 3%
Finger/thumb 3%
Hand 2%
Foot 2%
Other 7%
TOTAL 100%

Other studies that capture data from all injuries (not just Accident insurance claims) indicate that ankles are the most common body part injured during cheer. Cheerleaders are thought to be susceptible to ankle injuries due to landing mechanics in an erect position, the prevalence of hard surfaces with lack of shock absorption, and difficult maneuvers.

Type of injury

Fracture 35%
Joint sprain/strain 21%
Concussion 10%
Dislocation 7%
Bruise/contusion 7%
Dental 5%
Cut/scrape 4%
Pulled muscle 2%
Not answered/other 9%
TOTAL 100%

Because the injuries in the AYC study are taken from Accident insurance claims where medical treatment has been sought, fractures tend to be overstated. Other studies on all cheer injuries (including incidents where medical treatment is not sought) indicate that the most common injury types are sprains/strains.

The American Academy of Pediatrics 2015 study “Cheerleading Injuries in United States High Schools” reported that concussions accounted for 31% of total injuries. Clearly, the percentage of concussions occurring in youth based non-scholastic cheer is much lower.

Position while injured

Flyer 35%
Tumbler 14%
Right-side base 8%
Back spotter 8%
Not applicable 6%
Left-side base 6%
Standing in cheer line 4%
Coach 4%
Base, not specified 2%
Front spotter 1%
Other 12%
TOTAL 100%

It’s not surprising that flyers are injured most frequently from falls as contact with ground and collisions with teammates are the leading physical causes of injury in the AYC study.

Type of tumble or stunt while injured

Prep or extended elevator 21%
Prep or extended cradle 9%
Roundoff 4%
Prep or extended full twist down cradle 4%
Cartwheel 4%
Standing back handspring 3%
Full twist 3%
Basket toss 3%
Sideline cheer – no stunt or tumble 2%
Prep/extended awesome/cupie 2%
Dancing – not stunt or tumbling 2%
Back walkover 2%
Other 31%
Not answered 10%
TOTAL 100%

Note the high number of injury report responses falling under “other” and “not answered.” This is an indication that there is not widespread agreement over the names of the types of stunt or the fact that some stunts have multiple names.             

Physical cause of injury

Contact with ground 53%
Collision with teammate 20%
Catching 7%
Non-contact 6%
Supporting weight 5%
Other 4%
Not answered 3%
Hit by other object 2%
TOTAL 100%

Activity while injured

Flying 32%
Tumbling 13%
Catching 13%
Supporting 7%
Walking 4%
Running 4%
Lifting 4%
Spotting 3%
Sitting/standing/walking – not specified 3%
Dismounting 3%
Coaching 2%
Other 12%
TOTAL 100%

Risk management recommendations

AYC has experienced many fewer injuries than its football counterpart, AYF. There have been no catastrophic injuries recorded in AYC since injury tracking began in 2005 or any prior to that period.

However, it is strongly recommended that all local cheer programs consider the following risk management practices:

2016 Insurance Program Released For American Youth Football

AYFThe gold standard that is the envy of the competition

The American Youth Football and American Youth Cheer endorsed insurance provider, Sadler Sports Insurance, has released the new 2016 insurance program for teams /associations /conferences.

Detailed 2016 coverage, rate information, and online enrollment are available now on our website!

Get Quote Now

The 2016 offering is, once again, the gold standard in youth football and cheer insurance with an unbeatable combination of low rates, broad custom coverages, and best-in-industry automation that allows instant online enrollment and issuance of proof of coverage documents and certificates for field owners. But that’s not all: the program also provides best-in-industry risk management resources to prevent injuries before they become claims and groundbreaking studies on safety in youth football and cheer.

Apply, pay, and print proof of coverage documents and certificates in as little as 10 minutes

Our advanced automation is so simple and fast that you can complete the entire insurance purchase transaction and print all your documents in as little as 10 minutes. Many competitors require the completion of forms and days of waiting just to get a quote. Then, once the quote is bound, it can take several days to get the proof of coverage documents and certificates for field owners. Or, they could charge $100 extra for next day rush delivery.

After the purchase, we provide our clients access to our website so that they can self-issue certificates for new field owners 24/7. It’s so easy and our clients love this benefit.

Beware of competing programs that seem too good to be true

We often hear stories about a competitor offering cut-rate policies with a per team rate that is too low to be believable. Whenever this happens, something ends up being defective with the offering, which illustrates that if something is too good to be true, it usually is. We’ve seen cases where the quoted price did not include the cost of both the Accident and General Liability policies, where the organization never reported the transaction to the insurance carrier and no insurance was in force, and where a big corporation was going to foot the bill for the insurance (dream on), etc. Just this year we found a competitor that was bragging about their great insurance program but had grossly misrepresented its limits and coverages to the public. We brought this to the attention of their insurance carrier and corrections were made. After a little bit of digging, these schemes fall apart.

What is being done to combat the risk of concussion/brain injury and related litigation?

Sadler Sports Insurance provides a sample Football/Cheer Concussion Awareness Risk Management Program (short form) that is strongly recommended for all teams/associations/conferences. This free program can be found under the risk management section of our AYF Insurance page. This program consolidates accepted risk management practices into a three-page document for easy board adoption and implementation. We recommend coaches complete the AYF coaching education program. Certification is required of head football and cheer coaches participating in AYF national championships. We also encourage coaches, volunteers and players view our Seahawks’ tackle resources page. which demonstrates their tackling methods. AYF has provided a certification test to take in conjunction with this video on myafy.com. It is important for all teams/association/conferences to thicken their shields by adopting and fully implementing a comprehensive concussion/brain injury risk management program. The future of our sports depends on this action and it’s the right thing to do to protect the kids.

Check Out Our New, Improved AYF Webpage And Video And Our 98% Staff Awesome Rating

Our AYF/AYC webpage has been totally redesigned for an enhanced user experience where our prospect and clients can access all of our services (ex: applying, renewing, issuing certificates, add/delete teams, claims, etc.) without ever having to speak to a staff member at Sadler. However, should you have a question or need assistance, you can contact our staff by email, chat, or phone. We are very proud that surveys indicate that our staff is graded as 98% “Awesome” by those who have contacted us.

Also, all the football and cheer specific risk management content and related blogs are now available directly from the webpage.

In addition, we created a new video that can be viewed individually or by a small group to explain how to access our insurance and risk management services.

Best-in-industry risk management resources (free)

We have an incredible line up of free risk management resources including articles, legal forms, risk management program templates for your easy adoption and customization, and training videos for administrators and staff. This includes the newly created document entitled Sample AYF/AYC Advanced Plan, which is a comprehensive risk management program customized for AYF/AYC organizations.

Be a part of groundbreaking injury studies

If you purchase your insurance through the endorsed insurance program, all Accident claims automatically become part of the database where our custom software analyzes the information to produce meaningful injury reports. This has led to groundbreaking studies on the comparison of injuries in age only vs age/weight categories and the incidence of concussions within AYF/AYC.

Get Quote Now

Please visit our webpage at www.sadlersports.com/ayf or call us at 800-622-7370 if you have any questions.

 

Top 5 Sports Risks Resulting in Insurance Claims

You need to know them to try to prevent them, but sports insurance still a must

Accidents can happen any time, to anyone, on and off the sports field. Many aren’t even related to playing the sport itself, and many result in serious injuries. Sadly, a large portion of them can be prevented with a little attention to hot spots and putting into place proven risk management policies. However, others are just part of the game.

We take pride in offering our clients risk management advice in an effort to prevent claims. We hope you’ll be able to avoid making the top 5 list:

  1. Wayward balls are the cause of more claims for damages and injuries than anything else in sports. Baseballs in particular are high-speed missiles that slam into players, dugouts, spectators, cars, windows, and anything else in their path. Wild pitches, overthrown lacrosse balls and basketballs, and baseballs hit out of the park are only some of ways balls can cause injuries. A real horror story to a client occurred when an assistant coach was struck in the face by a pitched baseball while warming up the pitcher. He later lapsed into a coma and died of his injuries resulting in total claims cost of $1,001,000.
  2. Falls by players, coaches, spectators, groundskeepers and officials are by far the most common sports injury. Holes in the field, slippery or wet surfaces, obstacles in or around the field, bases, field markers, and equipment cause people to fall. Falls from bleachers, benches, ladders, playground equipment, backstops, and goals are also not uncommon. Broken, sprained or twisted limbs can result in expensive medical bills and even time off work. Falls can even result result in death.  One of our baseball leagues had a claim that settled for $41,781 where a spectator fractured both ankles after stepping in a washed out grassy area of a ballpark.
  3. Vehicles of all sorts are involved in numerous sports-related claims. Many can be avoided if parking and traffic flow signage is displayed properly. Delivery trucks backing into concession stands, golf carts and riding mowers overturning, tents and awnings collapsing on vehicles, tractors hitting parked cars, vandalism, and balls flying through windshields are common incidents at the ballpark. One of our baseball leagues experienced a claim where a person was injured by being pinned between a scoreboard table and golf cart with a resulting settlement of $50,000.
  4. Roughhousing and unsupervised children can cause all sorts of mayhem. Playing or climbing on goals, vehicles, bleachers, gates and fences frequently ends in injuries. This includes unattended children in play areas, near water, or in wooded areas of the park. It’s also not unusual for players to be swinging bats or tossing/kicking balls in areas where others can be hurt, such as concession areas, parking lots and near bleachers. And in heated competitions, it’s not unusual for fights to break out among spectators or between players on the field. An example of this type of claim was when one of our local league clients was sued as a result of children climbing on statue at an awards banquet which caused $4,789 in damage to Sports insurance claimsa water fountain.
  5. Player collisions with other players, spectators and equipment are common. Baseball, soccer, football, and basketball players frequently collide with one another on the field, often resulting in concussions, fractured limbs, and other injuries. Basketball and football players often crash into spectators on the sidelines. And it’s not unusual for players to collide with teammates and coaches on the bench, down markers, goals, and bleachers. One of our clients had a situation where a youth football player was driven into a 1st down marker and fractured his arm. The insurance settlement was $75,000.

These are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to accidents that can happen in and around sports. The examples listed on this page are expected to occur with some frequency. However, it’s often the unexpected types of claims that result in some of the largest payouts. You just never know what can happen and that’s why you must have quality sports insurance. We have a whole list of horror stories about what can go wrong on our risk management page, which also includes lots of free risk management material.

Sadler Insurance Introduces New Improved AYF Insurance Webpage and Video

Sadler Sports Insurance has updated the American Youth Football/Cheer Insurance webpage for an enhanced user experience. The new webpage allows our AYF prospects and clients to access all insurance and risk management services (ex: applying, renewing, issuing certificates, add/delete teams, claims, etc.) without ever having to speak to a Sadler staff member. However, should a client have a question or need help with a service request, we stand ready to assist by chat, email, or phone. We’re proud of our service staff, which has a 98% “awesome” rating by the prospects and clients who have contacted us. The new webpage also lists all of our football and cheer specific risk management content on the same page so that it is no longer necessary to navigate to another page on our website.

In addition, we just produced a new video that we prepared for our local  AYF team/association/conference prospects and clients that explains all aspects of our insurance and risk management program. The video covers the following topics:

  • Risks of going uninsured or underinsured
  • 12 reasons why our program blows away the competition
  • Brief description of all 5 policies and why you need them
  • What you need to know before you apply
  • How to apply
  • How to access policy services
  • A review of our most important risk management content and blog articles

This video can be found by scrolling down the webpage and can be viewed individually or played for a small group to educate your board and administrators.

We hope you’ll check out our new website by clicking here. 

Fear of Concussions in Youth Sports

More effort in awareness and education needed

The anxiety level among Americans regarding concussions was found to be quite high according to a recent online survey. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center conducted the survey among 2012 Americans over the age of 18. The results highlight the myths and misunderstanding about concussions.

Nearly 90% of those surveyed consider concussions to be a moderate to severe health concern. Nearly one-third of parents said they fear their child will suffer a concussion, and 25% do not allow their children to play contact sports because they fear they’ll suffer a concussion.

Ironically, 26% of the parents surveyed did not seek medical treatment when someone in their family suffered a concussion. Worse, 81% of those surveyed said they would not know the steps to take in treating a concussion if they sustained one.

More statistics from the survey:

  • 87% did not know the definition of a concussion, and 37% admit to being confused as to what a concussion actually is.
  • 58% could not identify headache or dizziness as immediate symptoms of a concussion.
  • Only 34% understand that fatigue is also a symptom and just 13% know that mood changes can also be the result of a concussion.
  • 79% of adults incorrectly think concussions are incurable and that the symptoms can only be managed.

Decreasing the level of fear

Fear of concussion among many parents is affecting their decision to permit their children to participate in contact sports. While there has been much progress in educating coaches, trainers, parents and players about concussion risk management and treatment, there’s much work to be done.

Sports are a healthy physical and social activity for children and teens, and fear of injury should not prevent them from participating. Concussions are treatable and when properly managed, athletes can return to play. “With careful evaluation and treatment by a well-trained specialist, even the most complex injuries are manageable,” says Erin Reynolds, fellowship director of UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program.

Click here for the full survey results. We have more articles on concussions on our blog and offer free concussion risk management material in our risk management library.


Source: Susan Manko, “Are American Parents Too Afraid of Concussions?” futurity.org. 05 Oct, 2015.

Cheer Injuries: Low Frequency But High Severity

Posted | Filed under Cheerleading

Risk management and coach training integral to safety

In the last 20 years, high school cheerleading has morphed from an activity on the sidelines of the athletic field to a highly competitive sport. This and the increasingly difficult stunts cheerleaders perform are contributors to the increase in serious cheer-related injuries. However, findings of a recent study published in Pediatrics show that cheer injuries tend to be more severe in nature but fewer in number in comparison to almost all other high school sports.

The study’s results found that only gymnastics had a higher proportional rate of injuries than cheer that resulted in athletes being benched for periods of three weeks to an entire season. Other significant findings are that male cheerleaders are more likely to experience injuries and that most injuries occur during practice.

What’s behind the injuries and how to prevent them

Nearly half of cheer injuries are suffered by cheerleaders who make up the formation bases for pyramids and other stunts. Fliers account for 36 percent and spotters 10 percent.

Concussions, while the most common cheer injury, were significantly lower than all other high school sports combined. However, most cheer concussions were the result of elbows and other body parts hitting a cheerleader’s head rather than the head hitting the ground or other surface. Other common cheerleading injuries are ligament fractures, sprains, and muscle strains.

The complexity of the stunts performed and the height at which cheerleaders fly mean that having an experienced coach is integral to each team, according to Mark Riederer of Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan.

Proper safety equipment, making sure the cheerleaders are all at the same performance level, and having an athletic trainer on the high school staff can all help reduce the risk of injuries.

Sport or extracurricular activity?

Approximately 400,000 students across the U.S. participate in high school cheerleading each year. This number includes more than 123,000 who participate in competitive squads that include dynamic tosses pyramids, and other stunts in their routines.

Not all schools classify cheerleading as a sport. The distinction between cheer as a competitive sport and a non-athletic extracurricular activity is significant because sports incorporate stricter safety rules. For cheer rules would designate  practice locations that are relatively free from distractions and specify coach certification requirements.

All in all, cheerleading is not a particularly dangerous sport and appears to be safer than other sports, said Dustin Currie, lead author of the study. But, he added, precautions to minimize the potential risks of injury and to alleviate parents’ fear of participation in cheer should be a priority.

According to John Sadler, this information is consistent with our studies on youth cheer outside of school sports. We see relatively few injuries by frequency but some are severe. Therefore, quality, high limit Accident and General Liability insurance is still a must. Also, there is definitely a correlation between injuries and the quality of coach training and certification, as well as the standards that are being followed.

We have several articles on the topic of cheer safety on our blog and in our risk management library. And please contact us or  click here for further information or a fast quote for cheerleading insurance.


Sources:
Ashley Welch. “Cheerleading injuries less common, more severe than other sports,” cbsnew.com. 10 Dec. 2015.
Maureen Salamon. “Concussion is top injury among cheerleaders, study finds,” chicagotribune.com. 10 Dec. 2015.

Benching of Youth Participants and Resulting Lawsuits

Parents who pay want their child to play

It’s not yet what you’d call a trend, but there’s certainly an uptick in the number of parents filing lawsuits to get their child off the bench and onto the playing field.

Parents put out big bucks in registrations fees, equipment and travel costs associated with high school and youth club and travel teams, to say nothing of the time they invest attending practices and traveling to games. Many parents sacrifice their time and money for their children hoping to get the attention of college coaches, earn scholarships, and improve chances of college admissions – or even advance a professional athletic career. So, it’s understandable that some are dissatisfied when their child rides the bench more than he or she plays. In other words, they expect a payoff for their investment.

There is also an increase in lawsuits by parents of children who have been cut from teams, injured, disciplined by coaches or penalized by officials. But is hiring an attorney the answer? Many are questioning not only the attitude of entitlement, but how the children, who generally play for the fun and camaraderie, are affected by such lawsuits. What are the children learning when parents step in so heavily handed to smooth the way? Will they learn they’re entitled to play on a team simply because they attend practice? And are parents setting these athletes up to be bullied by other team members?

The increasingly competitive nature of youth sports has helped shift many parents’ focus from fun, exercise and sportsmanship to an investment in their children’s academic and professional futures. Youth sports officials are watching the case of a 16-year-old volleyball player. The girl earned spot on a volleyball league but ended up on the bench, so her parents filed suit against the volleyball association, alleging it won’t let the girl play or to switch teams, per the contract she signed.

General Liability policies, which typically only respond to certain lawsuits alleging bodily injury or property damage, don’t cover these types of lawsuits that allege loss of college scholarship or loss of pro career. Such lawsuits generally require a Professional Liability endorsement on a General Liability policy or a stand alone Professional Liability policy.


Source: Tracey Schelmetic, sportsdestinations.com, 21 Apr. 2015.

The Dangers of Cheerleading

Lack of safety standards needs attention

I recently came across a news release from the national media on cheer injuries.  In addition to the usual horror stories, it included the following points of interest:

  • Over the pasta 26 years, 73 cases of catastrophic cheerleading injuries in the U.S. have been traced by the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at UNC.  These included fractured skulls or broken necks that led to permanent disabilities and two deaths.
  • According to estimates by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, almost 30,000 cheerleaders are treated in emergency rooms nationCheer Stuntawide each year.
  • Emergency room visits from cheerleaders have tripled since the mid-80’s when cheerleading turned competitive and incorporated high risk gymnastics stunts. Cheerleading popularity and participation also increased during  this time.
  • High risk stunts such as basket tosses, pyramids, and certain tumbling runs top the list for injuries, which are frequently executed on gymnasium floors, grass, and dirt with nothing separating the cheerleader from the hard surfaces.
  • High school cheer is not considered an official sport in most states.  Therefore, cheer doesn’t necessitate the same limits on practice time, safety equipment, or training for coaches that are essential for other high school sports.
  • The American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators (AACCA) requires cheer coaches to be certified in 13 states.  Certification often only requires an online test for coaches, which offers no training in spotting techniques or gymnastics.  And only about a dozen states regulate cheer by the rules that are set by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
  •  NFHS  offers an online cheer coach certification course comparable to the AACCA course.  Yet, each state will determine if the coach is required to take the certification course.
  • In 2010, AACCA  introduced its first set of rules, which bans double twisting dismounts and basket tosses.  However, that rule only applies to the youngest cheerleaders who are on either the elementary, middle or junior high teams.
  • Susan Loomis, the NFHS rulebook editor for spirit teams comments that there is no acting ‘cheer police’ at the high school level.  She herself does not know what the repercussions would be if someone did not follow or broke a rule.

Source:  MSNBC 

Cheer Gym vs. Competition Cheer Squad Insurance

What’s the difference?

Cheerleading is no longer simply a group of girls jumping and yelling along the sidelines of a ball game. It’s a performance sport that has exploded with nationally televised cheer competitions and even big screen movies about cheerleading. This expansion has led to competition cheer squads that go head-to-head for recreation and cheer gyms that are in the businesses of teaching cheerleading and building cheerleading groups for major competitions.

A point of confusion that we encounter when reviewing cheer insurance applications is whether the group is a competition cheer squad or a cheer gym. It is vitally important that the correct insurance coverage is written for the organization and their specific exposures.CheerleadersBlue

Making the determination

Six questions that we always have to ask are:

  1. Are membership dues paid monthly, quarterly, once per season, etc.?
  2. Is the organization’s facility owned, a long term lease, private, etc.?
  3. Is the organization cheering for one team or a competition squad?
  4. How are the coaches compensated?
  5. Is the organization a 501c3 non-profit?
  6. Does a board of directors oversee and run the organization?

We understand that not all applicants fall clearly into a competition squad or cheer gym category, but these questions allow us to make an educated assessment of the needs of the organization and provide the correct cheer insurance coverages.

A cheer squad typically pays fees once per season, uses school/local facilities, cheers as a squad for sporting teams, and is coached by volunteers. A cheer gym usually pays monthly dues, owns or has a long-term lease for a facility, cheers strictly in competitions and pays coaches a salary.

The factors few people take into consideration

There is a difference in premium cheer squad and cheer gym insurance premiums for good reason. The typical cheer squad is exposed to participant and coach injuries. Coverage is provided for the cheer squad itself as well as for the volunteers. Cheer gyms have a much greater risk of exposure than a cheer squad. The following points are taken into account when determining exposures of cheer gyms:

  • The operation or long-term use of a facility creates a property exposure for anyone that comes onto the property and sustains a premises-related injury.
  • Some cheer gyms provide extra services, such as private lessons, birthday parties, after school programs and/or soft play areas.
  • Being run as a business means the coaches of cheer gyms are considered experts in the sport of cheerleading. This increases the standard of care owed to the participants and the bodily injury liability exposure.
  • A professional liability exposure may result if the participant of a cheer gym sues over not being offered a college scholarship, or other expected benefits due to improper coaching.

Being under insured is just as risky as being uninsured. The cheer gym owner/trainer can lose personal assets, future earnings and even their business in the event a lawsuit arises and the correct coverage isn’t in force. No cheer gym owner should take the risk of losing everything in the event of a devastating injury resulting in lawsuit in order to save a few dollars on premium.

Please visit our website for more information on Cheer School & Cheer Gym Insurance and Cheer Squad Insurance.

 

Cheerleading Causing Catastrophic Injuries

Regulated or not, cheering poses serious risks

CheerlCheerSquadeading has evolved well past the days of “Rah, rah, rah, GO TEAM” It has quickly become one of the most dangerous sports among young women. According to an article in the Washington Post, cheerleading accounts for more than half of all catastrophic injuries to girl athletes.  We have seen an increased number of squads that are not just cheering for a localsports team, but are in competition for themselves.

Concussions and the serious side effects associated with them are in the news for good reason, but usually associated with football and soccer players. Concussions suffered by cheerleaders apparently aren’t being reported as frequently as those suffered in other sports. This could be a result of the ongoing effort of cheerleaders, coaches and parents to gain respectability for the sport.

Much of the concern for young athletes at risk for concussion goes to the obvious heavy-hitters:  football, soccer, basketball.  But an expert who studies the injury in youth sports say one major activity is being overlooked: cheerleading.

Female athletes may be at even higher risk for suffering a concussion than their male counterparts.  Girls’ neck muscles are generally weaker than boys’, making them more susceptible to dangers that come from rapid acceleration or deceleration, and whiplash.Melissa Dahl, msnbc.com

It is always important to make sure that the participants are well trained, not only in the how to execute stunts, but to do them in ways to protect themselves and their squad members.

We offer cheerleading insurance for teams and cheer school. For more information or a quote, call us at (800) 622-7370.