Cheering for changes to protect athletes

Published 7:00 am Friday, July 28, 2017

The National Federation of State High School Associations Spirit Rules Committee revised several rules for the 2017-18 school year in an ongoing effort to minimize risk of injury to cheerleaders and dance team members.

The committee approved removal of the word “static” from several places within the rules book to add clarity to the intent of the rules, according to an NFHS release. One particular example is allowing braced extended students to transition more freely to allow for more creativity and better technique.

Another revised rule describes how participants are now required to remain outside of the basketball playing area during a 30-second or less time-out and are required to stand outside the free throw lane lines extended toward the sidelines throughout the game, the release states.

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Also, a spotter is required for extended stunts or transitions that end in an extended position. The following exceptions are during: chair, Russian lift, torch, double-base split catch, double-base vertical T-lift, triple-base stunts in which the top person is horizontal, triple-base suspended splits and triple-base straddle sit provided the top person has both hands in contact with a post.

When athletes are executing inversions that do not flip or roll in a pyramid, the bracer can now be in a double-based prep without a spotter. The same rule applies when executing a braced roll.

The criteria for braced flips has remained the same, but the rule was revised to clarify that three stunt personnel must be involved as the original bases or spotters. Instead of all personnel catching the top person, there can now be two spotters in a position to protect the head, neck and shoulders, the release states.

“The Spirit Rules Committee takes risk minimization very seriously and looks at the rules for cheer and dance to ensure the most amount of success — from beginners to advanced — with minimal risk for all involved,” James Weaver, NFHS director of performing arts and sports, said in the release.

For a complete list of all the rule changes, visit the NFHS website.

High School powerlifting has changed sites in each classification and region for the 2018 season. For 4A powerlifting, Region 1 will be in Itawamba; Region 2 will be in Senatobia; Region 3 will be in West Lauderdale; Region 4 will be in South Pike; the North region will be in Pontotoc; and the South region will be in Moss Point.

For 5A powerlifting, Lafayette will host Region 1; Pearl will host Region 2; Brookhaven will host Region 3 and the South region; Gautier will host Region 4; and Lafayette will host the North region.