Jeff Webb on Safety

Varsity sent a letter today:

Dear Coach,

As I’m sure many of you are aware by now, cheerleading and cheerleading safety have been getting a lot of attention in the media this week.  Much of the attention is due to the release of the 26th annual study by the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Frederick Mueller’s annual study is always a newsmaker.  There is something irresistible about the subject of cheerleading, and the way this story has been reported in the media reflects that. This year’s news should have been two-fold:

1) The study reports that there has been an increased emphasis on cheerleading safety industry wide. Dr. Mueller acknowledges safety developments such as Varsity’s alliance with the NCAA to enhance cheerleading safety at NCAA institutions by creating the College Cheerleading Safety Initiative.  In the three years of the partnership with the NCAA, there has not been single catastrophic injury claim for cheerleading at these colleges.

2) There was a major correction to the number of participants involved with cheerleading at the high school level. For years, the UNC study has been using a participation figure of 92,000 for high school cheerleading. This year, the National Federation of State High School Associations updated its participation numbers and found that a truer representation for high school participation is nearly 400,000. This year’s findings also acknowledged that the number of cheerleading participants is more than four times than the study had previously reported. Participation figures are crucial to a survey’s validity, and this quadrupling of the representation should have sparked more interest as it meant a dramatic reduction in the calculation of the rate and risk of injury to cheerleaders.

We want you to know that Varsity and its brands are devoted to ensuring a safe environment for all cheerleaders.  Not surprisingly, many of our employees are former cheerleaders, some are current coaches, and many are also the parents of cheerleaders. All share a commitment to keeping cheerleading as safe as it can be.  At our camps and events, we take every precaution to ensure that we are educating cheerleaders and coaches to the safest measures possible.  At our camps this summer, every child-nearly 325,000 in all-will be educated through our Safety Awareness Program.

Our commitment is evident in our partnerships with the NCAA, our Spirit Education Program with the National Federation of State High School Associations, our support of AACCA and its programs and rules, our library of safety education materials on our website and the efforts we have made for 25 years on behalf of cheerleading safety. When the headlines disappear, we want to make sure you had access to some links that will always keep you up to date on cheerleading safety:

Please contact us if you have any questions about cheerleading safety and what we can do together to ensure that this is a safe activity that builds life skills in our athletes.


Jeff Webb

Founder  & President