The NCSTA Spells S A F E T Y

“The Skill Sets of Cheerleading: Stunts & Tumbling Have Long Out Grown the Activity.” – Kimberly Archie

When cheerleader Dale Baldwin was rendered a quadriplegic from a tumbling mini-tramp stunt gone wrong and Janis Thompson died from a head injury sustained while stunting all in the same week back in 1986; it should have been the first warning sign that is was evident that the skill sets of cheerleading: stunts and tumbling had out grown the activity.

Now twenty-five years later the National Collegiate Stunts & Tumbling Association (NCSTA) is born, and every inch of its format yells safety. After having cheerleading being reported as the number one cause of catastrophic injuries to female athletes in high school and college, the NCSTA is a welcomed change.

As a cheer safety expert in sports injury litigation the center of all cases come down to the coach’s duty of care and did that breach of duty owed to the athlete lead to their injuries. If that sounds like all of the pressure is on the coach, it is.

No coach wants to see their athlete get hurt, especially a catastrophic injury. The only thing worse than that is to be the coach on trial for that injury.

See how the NCSTA spells safety putting a coach back at ease giving them peace of mind to lead their team to victory!

Standard of Care: in the law of negligence, it is the degree of care that a reasonable person within the same area of specialization or profession should prudently exercise. When an athlete is injured the standard of care in a court of law is defined by child protection laws. The NCSTA absorbs this in its rules, education and the coach’s day to day interaction with athletes.

Athlete: having the focus on the care of an athlete rather than a participant of an activity will put safety in its rightful place. First – to be regulated like a sport; and Second – to be cared for like an athlete: For example, instead of a coach handling injuries; there should be a certified athletic trainer, whose primary job is to care for athletic injuries.

Formal governance: having a formal governing body free from conflicts of interests will not only give credibility to the sport, but create a system in which the safety of the athletes will be the number one priority.

Education: a coach’s education program that utilizes the best in sports medicine and supported by child protection laws will bring integrity to the sport of stunts and tumbling while laying the foundation of safety.

Tumbling & Stunts: by isolating the skill sets and giving athletes an opportunity to execute the skills under highly trained coaches, on a proper surface with mandated progressions will take safety to another level.

Yes, Cheer is a Sport: in the heart of every cheerleader is the belief that what they do is a sport and deserves the recognition and protection that comes with being a sport. The NCSTA is just such the vehicle to take the skill sets of stunts and tumbling to Title IX compliance at the collegiate level.

As an industry this is an exciting time. Seeing the birth of a new sport doesn’t happen very often and I am grateful to be a part of it.