LEE’S SUMMUT, Mo. -- Local gymnasts and cheerleaders said they are horrified after watching a cell phone video of a cheerleader in Denver being forced to do the splits. On Friday it was announced the coach of the team had been fired.
An investigation is underway by the Denver Police Department. On the video, a teen is seen crying out in pain and begged the coach multiple times to “please stop.”
“That’s awful, everyone was crying, they could have broken their legs by pushing them,” said Loren Sutton, a senior and Varsity Cheerleader at Lee’s Summit West High School.
Loren’s mother, Wendy, said she was disturbed to see the video.
“I am thinking that’s poor coaching skills, I mean no student or athlete or cheerleader should have to go through that torture and pain just to have the splits,” she told FOX 4.
FOX 4 also talked to gymnasts and coaches at Xtreme Gymnastics in Lee’s Summit.
“Definitely dangerous for the athlete,” said Carl Neidholdt, the trampoline director at Xtreme Gymnastics in Lee's Summit. “If stretching is hurting or causing pain then it’s too much because then you might hit that stress reflex and actually cause the muscle to tight up in response,” he said.
"We absolutely prohibit any practices that place our students’ physical and mental health in jeopardy," wrote DPS Superintedent Tom Boasberg, in a letter to East High School parents. "We do not and will not allow any situation in which a student is forced to perform an activity or exercise beyond the point at which they express their desire to stop."