Posts Tagged ‘AYC’

7 Simple Steps to Reduce Serious Risks in Youth Tackle Football/Cheer

And 3 important reasons to prevent / reduce insurance claims

Purchasing high-limit, high-quality, insurance such as that offered through the endorsed American Youth Football / American Youth Cheer (AYF/AYC) insurance program is just a starting point in protecting your youth and volunteers against injuries and lawsuits. And almost any league can qualify for membership in AYF/AYC to gain access to the endorsed insurance program. Although insurance pays for losses, the goal is to prevent or reduce the injury to a spectator or player so that it never results in an insurance claim.

Here are three important reasons to prevent / reduce insurance claims:

  1. People suffer when they are injured and miss time away from playing the game, school, or work.
  2. In the event of a serious injury, your program can suffer negative media coverage, which can have an impact on the success of your program.
  3. The loss record of the AYF/AYC insurance program must be protected against serious losses which will result in future rate increases.

Below are the seven most important risk management programs that should be formally adopted, distributed to staff, and implemented in order to protect against the most serious types of injuries:

1.  Sample AYF/AYC Risk Management Plan

Implement this comprehensive risk management program or similar to reduce the litigation risk at your locations and in all areas of your operations, including facilities, equipment, supervision, instruction, rules, injury response, sex abuse & molestation, and use of autos. It includes best practices and contractual transfer of risk through participant registration forms such as waiver/release and emergency information/medical consent. Also included are the use of insurance requirements and hold harmless/indemnification provisions in agreements with vendors and visiting teams.

2.  Sample Football/Cheer Brain Injury/Concussion Awareness Risk Management Program

Implement this program or similar to reduce your risk of litigation. Includes coach, parent, and player training on concussion recognition, removal from play, medical treatment, and return to play protocol. Also includes training on removing the head from the tackle through Hawks Tackling resources and practice restrictions.

3. Sample Sex Abuse/Molestation Protection Program (short form)

Implement this program or similar to reduce your risk of an incident. This program has been updated to address the new requirements of the recently-passed federal Safe Sport Act, which requires mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse to law enforcement within 48 hours, specific training on preventing the sexual grooming process, use of the “buddy system,” and a no-retaliation policy for the reporting of a suspicion.

4.  Guide to Preventing Heat Stroke Death in Youth Tackle Football  

Heat stroke death in youth tackle football is preventable if risk management best Heat illnesspractices are followed. These include but are not limited to use of wet bulb globe temperature meter (WBGT) to assist with cancellation or postponement decisions and cold water immersion. WBGT meter prices are falling and a meter can be obtained for as little as $114. However, the Weather FX app can be purchased for as little as $2 and creates a mathematical approximation of WBGT. Heat index is no longer the recommended decision making standard for sports postponement or cancellation decisions as it is inferior to WBGT.

5.  Lightning Safety and 30/30 Rule

This is perhaps the most overlooked safety rule in all of youth sports. Staff must be ready to step up and make the unpopular postponement/cancellation decision when conditions warrant.

6.  Use of 12- and 15-Passenger Vans

The use of 15-passenger vans to transport youth remains a popular but deadly practice in youth sports. Youth sports organizations must follow the lead of schools that have banned this practice and must opt for safer alternatives.

7.  Parade Float Risk Management for Sports Organizations

It’s hard to believe, but two of the largest claims suffered by our youth tackle football and cheer clients have been falls off parade floats. If you must have a parade float, follow these risk management precautions.

Running a youth tackle football and cheer association involves addressing serious risk. Ask yourself if are you taking these important steps to protect your youth and volunteers. Tap into our risk management resources to gain access to our free tools.

American Youth Cheer Releases Study on Injury Trends 2005-15

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+ weeks30%
1 – 3 weeks26%
1-7 days14%
None13%
Not answered/unknown17%
TOTAL100%

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

Practice76%
Before game/practice7%
Competitive cheer event5%
After game/practice4%
Halftime2%
Sideline1%
Other5%
Total100%

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 area45%
Field22%
Sidelines6%
Outdoor practice area5%
Indoor competition area4%
Practice field3%
Other15%
TOTAL100%

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

Surface type

Grass37%
Flat, non-spring26%
Mat17%
Spring9%
Concrete6%
Other5%
TOTAL100%

Body part injured

Head/temple12%
Ankle10%
Knee10%
Wrist9%
Elbow8%
Shoulder/collarbone8%
Forearm8%
Mouth/teetch7%
Neck5%
Upper arm3%
Back3%
Nose3%
Finger/thumb3%
Hand2%
Foot2%
Other7%
TOTAL100%

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

Fracture35%
Joint sprain/strain21%
Concussion10%
Dislocation7%
Bruise/contusion7%
Dental5%
Cut/scrape4%
Pulled muscle2%
Not answered/other9%
TOTAL100%

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

Flyer35%
Tumbler14%
Right-side base8%
Back spotter8%
Not applicable6%
Left-side base6%
Standing in cheer line4%
Coach4%
Base, not specified2%
Front spotter1%
Other12%
TOTAL100%

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 elevator21%
Prep or extended cradle9%
Roundoff4%
Prep or extended full twist down cradle4%
Cartwheel4%
Standing back handspring3%
Full twist3%
Basket toss3%
Sideline cheer – no stunt or tumble2%
Prep/extended awesome/cupie2%
Dancing – not stunt or tumbling2%
Back walkover2%
Other31%
Not answered10%
TOTAL100%

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 ground53%
Collision with teammate20%
Catching7%
Non-contact6%
Supporting weight5%
Other4%
Not answered3%
Hit by other object2%
TOTAL100%

Activity while injured

Flying32%
Tumbling13%
Catching13%
Supporting7%
Walking4%
Running4%
Lifting4%
Spotting3%
Sitting/standing/walking – not specified3%
Dismounting3%
Coaching2%
Other12%
TOTAL100%

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: