Tampa Bay area professionals respond to video of cheerleader being forced into split

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Video from a Denver, Colorado cheerleading camp shows a teen girl screaming in pain as her coach and teammates force her into a split position.

Since the video was released, the coach and several East High School administrators have been placed on leave.

“Personally, that wouldn’t be my choice of technique to get somebody into a split. Flexibility is something that is a gradual thing,” said Kaley Gay Eckersdorff of The Keep, a yoga and circus arts studio in Ybor City.

She watched the video and thinks it’s wrong.

“I would just say that I wouldn’t do them that aggressively,” she said, referring to the splits.

Gay Eckersdorff tells us instructors at The Keep listen closely to their clients during activities and stop if there’s even the slightest pain involved.

They even have hand signals that can be used if people experience pain.

“It’s pretty difficult to watch,” said Dr. Jill Hechtman, of Tampa Obstetrics. “As a mom, I couldn’t imagine my daughter being put through something like that.”

Hechtman was shocked by the video and warns of potential issues like muscle and tendon strains and ligament pulls.

“They were forcing her into a position she couldn’t get,” Hechtman said.  “And that’s where injury can occur.”

Other cheerleaders were also forced into splits, but those videos weren’t released.

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