In an effort to reduce the risk of concussions in cheerleading, the National Federation of State High School Associations recently approved a rule change that bans high school cheerleaders from performing a double twist to a cradle, also known as a “double down,” starting this coming school year.
The move is still allowed in college cheerleading, however.
“Cradle” is the term for when a cheerleader dismounts from a stunt and gets caught by other cheerleaders, face-up. The “double twist to a cradle” is exactly what it sounds like: A cheerleader being tossed, going through two full rotations in the air, then landing in the arms of other cheerleaders.
As one might expect, such an acrobatic maneuver comes with great risk, according to data.
“Data presented by the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee confirmed that the majority of head injuries in spirit are from body-to-body contact in stunts,” said Susan Loomis, editor of the NFHS Spirit Rules Book, in a statement. “The committee recognizes that the primary body-to-body contact issues are presented during double-twisting dismounts. Prohibiting double twists to a cradle is consistent with the NFHS focus on risk minimization.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.