We are excited to welcome guest blogger Kimberly Archie, from the National Cheer Safety Foundation. Kim will cover risk management strategies for athletes, parents and athletic programs.

Cheer Safety Series Introduction
by: Kimberly Archie

I will be introducing seven risk management strategies to assist in the prevention of child athlete abuse in cheerleading. The strategies were derived from patterns identified in the research published by the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research at the of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in conjunction with the National Cheer Safety Foundation.

The seven risk management strategies that will be included are:

1. Role Played Catastrophic Emergency Plan
2. Uniform Pre-Participation Physical
3. Mandatory Injury Reporting
4. Head Injury Prevention, Remove from Play and Return to Play Guidelines
5. Cardiac Arrest and Heat Illness
6. Coach's Education
7. AEDs (automated external defibrillator)

Five of the seven strategies cost no money just the willingness to think and do things different so there is something for each cheer program to pick up on.

Each month risk management strategies will be featured along with interviews from injured athletes, recommendations from top sports medicine doctors and important sport safety statistics.

The National Cheer Safety Foundation is a volunteer organization founded by parents, operated by former cheerleaders and backed by the Cheer Safety Experts® is dedicated to injecting science into cheer safety to reduce injury, disability and death from cheer injuries through research and education of parents, cheerleaders, coaches, gym owners and administrators. To report your injuries go to www.cheerinjuryreport.com and to find out more information about safety or grants go to www.nationalcheersafety.com.

Additional highlights include promoting National Cheer Safety Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month in March, and Youth Sport Safety Month in April.

Kimberly ArchieKimberly Archie is a former cheerleader, cheer coach and official for the National Collegiate Acrobatics & Tumbling Association, as well as the founder of the National Cheer Safety Foundation and co-founder of Advocates Against Athlete Abuse. She was nicknamed the "Erin Brockovich of sport safety" by classmates after she enrolled in a night class for paralegals, no coincidence they are now colleagues. She is best known for her hot pink suits, fake eyelashes, no non-sense sassy attitude and big heart. Archie has given over 400 media interviews on safety and has appeared on numerous national programs including the CBS Early Show, The Today Show, Fox News, E! True Hollywood Story, Primetime, The Doctors and Showtime's Penn & Teller's BS. She has been quoted in global and national periodicals such as The Economist, People Magazine, Seventeen Magazine, the Wall St. Journal and USA Today.

Since 2007 she has been called in as expert witness, and or consultant for 30 cheerleading injury litigation cases in California, Arizona, Michigan, Massachusetts, Texas, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana and Utah. She is a retained consultant to the Wrongful Death Consultants that advise top law firms such as Girardi & Keese and Masry & Vititoe, the law firms portrayed in the Erin Brochovich movie. She is considered in the legal arena the nation's top expert on cheerleading safety and athlete abuse with settlements in 7 figures. Her research on catastrophic injuries in cheerleading were published by the American Academy for the Advancement of Science in 2008 and set off $100 million in publicity over a two year period. She has worked extensively with Dr. Frederick Mueller, a sports science researcher at the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Center at the of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and is an official partner.

After witnessing her own daughter, Tiffani, sustain a broken arm at cheer practice in 2003, Archie began her own crusade towards safer regulations in school cheerleading. In 2006 she met Ruth Burns, mother of Ashley Burns who died of a ruptured spleen during cheer practice in Massachusetts, and committed herself to making cheerleading a recognized sport, rather than activity, as well as raising the standard of care for youth athletics in America. She rallied the assistance of Congresswoman Mary Bono to call for a Government Accountability Office investigation into catastrophic injuries in youth sports, which began in April 2010. Ms. Archie hosted the first Medical - Legal Summit on Child Athlete Abuse Syndrome after identifying the disease in her research in April of 2011, where the nation's top sports medicine leaders awarded her the Athlete Safety First for her work in preventing athlete abuse. She has helped, supported and or introduced 75 bills in 35 states for sport safety. She currently is working with Congressional leaders on drafting the Child Athlete Abuse Prevention Act and launching the first sport coaching education program based on child protection laws and not the rules of the game. Kimberly Archie was a single mom with little resources or power, who took on the most male dominated arena: Sports and it hasn't been the same since. Never underestimate the love of a mother.