New Stunt Rules Aim to Increase Cheer Safety

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Photo Courtesy of rhsrams_cheerleading on Instagram

The RHS cheerleaders with their mascot, Rammy, perform a stunt following safety protocols.

While having fun is a major part of sports, safety is the number one priority. Cheerleading is not like most sports, with athletes flying through the air and lifting each other in ways that don’t always allow for a perfect landing. New cheer protocols have been implemented by Maryland to ensure safety, but have they prevented teams from performing their normal routines?

The new rule largely concerns the performance of basket tosses or ‘baskets. Baskets are stunts performed by three or more bases where a flier is tossed into the air. The two athletes at the base interlock their hands and the flier uses this platform as a step. When the flier is released into the air, a jump or trick is performed before the athlete is caught by her teammates. 

The new rule states that baskets can not be performed on the gym floors without mats. 

Typically, when a new rule is introduced in stunting, it is due to the fact that there are a high number of injuries causing them to reevaluate, six year varsity cheer coach Julie James shared. 

“It has been hard because we can’t perform them at basketball now due to the fact it would take up too much time to roll out the mat and then roll it back up,” James said.

Maryland has a tendency to be more strict about safety precautions when it comes to stunting than surrounding states.

“When we go to camp or even competitions, we see squads doing things we are not allowed to do. You really have to study the rule book” James added.

According to athletic director Mike Hayes, rules have not always been this strict. When he was in high school, things were a lot different. People were jumping around and everything was wild, he said. As years went by, safety began to grow for cheerleaders.

“After working here for years, I know they’ve put in a bunch of protocols for the performances, just for the benefit of the overall student athlete,” Hayes said.

Cheerleaders understand the importance of safety but feel like one of the most entertaining factors of their routines are gone.

Moving forward, multiple new rules are bound to be implemented. Injuries are getting more serious, and safety is getting more important. 

“It’s just a matter of adjusting and dealing with the new rules. As soon as we find ways we can still do everything safely and timely, our team will excel,” senior varsity captain Bailey Banfield said.