Safety Captains

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Calling Captain Safety! Okay, that might be a bit on the cheesy side, but there’s definitely nothing cheesy about safety.

If you love to cheer, then you don’t want to be sidelined by an injury, especially one that could have been prevented. According to the USA Cheer Safety Manual, prevention is one of the keys to implementing an effective safety program, and it may be the most important one.

People in various positions are responsible for cheer program safety, including the coach, administration and cheerleaders themselves. Recently, a new safety role has become popular across the country. That’s where our safety captain comes in.

Captains are selected to be leaders both on and off the field. There may be multiple captains on a team, each with a different role. Safety captains work closely with the coach to make sure they understand the rules and safety program that are being implemented. There can be multiple safety captains, or the job can rotate among different cheerleaders. However you choose to fill the position, the safety captain has a very important job, with responsibilities in all of the areas listed below.

Captains set the example for others to follow. That means they can’t be throwing tucks on the concrete or trying new stunts without proper supervision. Safety captains should only attempt skills for which they are prepared and should make sure others are doing the same.

From time to time, situations may arise where cheerleaders don’t feel comfortable approaching the coach. They may feel pressured to try something too difficult, or they may want to go through a particular technique on the ground one more time before trying it in the air. This is where a safety captain can act as the go-between, talking to the coach directly or just speaking up to say, “Can we go over this one more time?” At the same time, they can reinforce the coach’s directives by encouraging team members to focus and spot properly.

Whether in practice, game or performance settings, captains should be the extra set of eyes and ears for the team, paying close attention to their surroundings. This includes the condition of the performing surface and proximity to objects such as megaphones and even spectators, players and officials. They can help observe when someone may not be doing their job properly in a stunt or pyramid and bring that to the cheerleader’s or coach’s attention. If the team is getting fatigued or someone’s safety is in any way compromised, the safety captain can be the one to let the coach know they need a break.

As seen in American Cheerleader Magazine.

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