Memphis, Tenn., May 29, 2014 – USA Cheer President Bill Seely participated in today’s Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit, joining President Obama to discuss sports safety and concussions. The event featured young athletes, parents and coaches, as well as professional sports stars and military service members convening to discuss ways to prevent and treat concussions and encourage research into sports-related head injuries.
“USA Cheer is proud to join with the White House and leading sports stakeholders to build a blueprint to make sports safe for young athletes across the country. We applaud President Obama’s commitment to help ensure that children continue to be active and play sports safely,” Seely said.
The cheerleading community’s efforts, led by USA Cheer, have contributed to a documented decrease in catastrophic injuries among cheerleading athletes. One such change, the removal of a dismount known as the “double down,” reversed a trend of increasing concussion rates. Currently, the cheerleading concussion rate is 42% lower than the overall concussion rate of all sports.
As part of the summit, the White House announced new steps by both the private and public sectors to inform the public on prevention and treatment of concussions.
“Today’s event provides the sports community with a great opportunity to come together and participate in a national conversation that impacts the lives of all athletes. We’re happy to be a part of the dialogue and continue our commitment to making cheerleading as safe as possible,” said Bill Seely.
USA Cheer has made great strides over the last several years in significantly reducing injuries, making it one of the safest athletic activities for young people. The organization works to educate parents, cheerleaders and coaches on cheerleading safety at every level.
USA Cheer is also releasing its Safety Commitment (below), showcasing progress towards helping understand the problem of sports-related concussions, improving strategies and tools to keep kids safe, and educating parents and other adults involved in youth sports on how to keep children safe during play.
A full list of USA Cheer’s Safety Commitment is available online at www.usacheer.net, but some of the highlights include:
- A comprehensive Head Injury Protocol, developed by the USA Cheer National Safety Council, to be rolled out at summer clinics around the country to over 300,000 cheerleaders and their coaches. This protocol is based on current research and evidence-based methods including consistent assessment practices, evaluation protocols, and appropriate referrals consistent with all new published research. All instructors are trained on head injury policies and will be teaching over 300,000 cheerleaders and their coaches how to prevent, identify, and seek treatment for any suspected head injuries.
- Educational training videos, on the Cheersafe.org website, where cheerleading coaches, parents and athletes can review skills for legality and safety. The videos will expand the current training tools to anyone with internet access and will be available free of charge.
- Updates to existing safety rules, developed in coalition with the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators, the National Federation of State High Schools Associations, and the U.S. All Star Federation cheerleading rules committees, which will further reduce the risk of injury to those who participate in cheerleading.
For more information, or to arrange an interview with Bill Seely, please contact Sheila Noone, [email protected] or 901-251-5959.