A study published in Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach examines how one cheer safety rule related to the basket toss stunt helped significantly reduce the rate of catastrophic injuries among high school and college cheerleaders.

Starting in the 2006-2007 academic year, the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators (AACCA, now known as USA Cheer) implemented its new rule banning basket tosses from hardwood floors in high school and college cheerleading.

The basket toss is not a difficult skill, but it is one that involves significant risk if not performed properly. The stunt involves one cheerleader tossed into the air by multiple people with interlocked hands who is then caught in a cradle catch, according to a media release from USA Cheer.

“As the governing body of cheer in the United States, cheer safety is always our number one priority. This research proves why it’s so important to put into place specific rules to reduce injuries and keep our athletes safe,” says Jim Lord, USA Cheer Director of Coaches Education & Programmin, in the release.

“Cheerleading participation is on the rise across the US and beyond, with the International Olympic Committee recognizing cheer as an Olympic sport. It’s crucial that we create and enforce rules that will minimize injuries, as well as work to provide training, credentialing, and safety resources for coaches.”

[Source(s): USA Cheer, PR Newswire]