AACCA Announces New Safety Rules

May 28, 2008, Memphis, TN – In an ongoing effort to make cheerleading a safe and rewarding activity, the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators, AACCA, has published their revised High School Cheerleading Safety Rules for the 2008-2009 school year, which includes major revisions regarding basketball court performances as well as minor clarifications of previous rules.

The most significant action taken by the rules committee was to limit the types of stunts that can be performed on a basketball court surface. The new rules prohibit certain types of tosses, inverted skills and twisting skills on the court surface unless they are performed on a mat. The new rules also create consistency with what is allowed at the college level.

Additional changes were made primarily for clarification of the existing rules. These included specifying the number and position of spotters for certain pyramids and adding definitions to clarify the various roles in pyramids.

The complete set of rules can be found here on the AACCA website.

Commenting on the changes, AACCA Executive Director Jim Lord said “The rules committee did an outstanding job in furthering safe participation by the young women and men that take part in high school cheerleading.  Taken as one element of an overall safety program, these rules help provide a framework where today’s cheerleaders can find the balance between being an athlete, a performer and a leader for their schools.”  Lord went on to say that in addition to safety rules, coaches should be trained in the proper skills development and risk management techniques that are outlined in AACCA’s Cheerleading Safety Certification Program.

While steeped in tradition, cheerleading is an ever-evolving activity which involves athletic maneuvers performed by individuals and groups of individuals working in unison.  The AACCA rules committees meet annually to review the current safety rules and to make adjustments for safety where needed.

Over three million young women and men participate in cheerleading across the country. Like traditional sports for which they cheer, cheerleading has risks that must be recognized by all involved, from administrators and coaches to parents and participants. Unlike traditional sports that have specific seasons of activity, cheerleading takes place all year long.  Emergency room visits for cheerleading are lower than most athletic sports, but improvements can always be made with regard to providing a safe environment and proper skills development.

The AACCA was organized in 1987 to improve cheerleading safety through coaches education and safety rules.  There are currently over 15,000 members across the United States.  In addition to annual rules reviews and revisions, the AACCA conducts over 5,000 safety courses annually based on the Cheerleading Safety Manual.  The AACCA works in partnership with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the US All Star Federation (USASF).

Jim Lord
American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators

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