“the most dangerous skill in gymnastics”

I’ve seen and heard of more serious accidents from a seemingly “harmless” skill than from any other single difficult skill.

What is it?

Cast to low bar. Then jump from low to high bar. (There are 2 places where kids are often injured.)

Click PLAY or watch the short video clip on YouTube.

The frequency of injury has increased steadily as the rails have widened for younger and younger girls.

Gymnastics Zone cautions:

Don’t Underestimate this Maneuver

Perhaps the apparent simplicity of this movement is one of the causes of accidents. The dangers, as evidenced by the accidents we have seen, are real and significant. All of the injuries occurred the same way with a jump to the high bar from a stand on the low bar (as in the Level 5 and Level 6 bar routines). The bar is caught initially, the feet swing forward and the grip is lost.

Often Causes Arm Injuries

During the resulting fall, the gymnast instinctively reaches back with one or both arms and the weight of the body on the arm causes an injury ranging from shoulder or elbow sprain, fracture, compound fracture to dislocation. It is possible that this skill could cause a neck or back injury, if the gymnast peels very late. …

Spotting This Skill Safely is Very, Very Difficult

Spotting this skill is deceptively difficult. We do not believe that any coach can safely spot this skill standing under the high bar waiting to see if the gymnast catches the bar or not. There are two reasons for this. The first is that often the gymnast appears to have caught the bar, which makes the coach instinctively relax, and then the gymnast peels. Even coaches with the most determined level of spotting concentration can fall victim to this predicament.

This Fall Happens Faster Than the Reflex Capabilities of a Spotter

The second problem with spotting this skill from the ground is that the swinging action rockets the gymnast straight down to the floor very, very quickly during a fall from this skill. This is especially true when the gymnast jumps to the high bar with an arch jump, which causes an involuntary tap action when the feet get out in front of the bar and speeds the hands peeling off and the speed of the fall. Even coaches with the fastest of reflexes will be unable to safely and consistently catch gymnasts falling this fast, especially if it is unexpected.

Gymnastics Safety for Gymnasts
Injuries Seem to Occur with Gymnasts New To The Skill

Published by

Rick Mc

Career gymnastics coach who loves the outdoors, and the internet.

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