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Question
I am a personal injury attorney in NY. I have a case involving a 7 year old who was at a gymnastics party. She was on the low balance beam (7 inches above ground). The staff was spotting her on the beam. She was wearing socks (not one's with grips on bottom). The staff did not spot her for the last step off the beam and the child slipped off the end fracturing her elbow.
I would like to ask you if in your opinion, as an expert in gymnastics, if it was a deviation from gymnastic standards for the staff at the gym to not spot the 7 year old for the last step off. The gym states that it was the parents responsibility to always be close to their child.
thank you

Answer
Hi Debbie,

I am not sure this qualifies as a "deviation from gymnastics standards."

If the gymnast seemed confident and competent walking across the beam it is not unusual for a coach to release his/her grip on the gymnast to allow an unencumbered dismount.

I think the key factor here is the socks. Typically, a gymnast and/or any participant in a gymnastics birthday party would take their socks off. Kind of like taking your shoes off before jumping in the pool. Socks can make walking across the beam a slippery experience.

Regarding parents, I would not even let them on the floor. My personal belief is more injuries happen to parents trying to relive their "glory days" than happen to the party participants.

Hope this helps.

Coach Rik

Gymnastics

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Rik Feeney

Expertise

I can answer questions regarding all levels of the sport of women's gymnastics, the business of gymnastics, and the marketing of gymnastics programs.

Experience

I am the author of "Gymnastics: A Guide for Parents and Athletes" currently being published by McGraw-Hill. I am also a ghostwriter and co-author of the Gymcert series of books "Levels 1-3 Gymnastics Coaches Certifications Manuals" for recreational gymnasts, and the "Levels 4 - 6 Skills and Drills" books as well as Safety Basics for Gymnastics Instructors. I have written several other books on the sport of gymnastics for Richardson Publishing, the latest of which is titled, "Back Handsprings: The Secret Techniques." Oh, and by the way, I was a competitive gymnast through high school and college (Temple University), gymnastics club owner for 10 years, and women's gymnastics coach for 30 years working with gymnasts at all competitive levels

Organizations
USA Gymnastics National Writer's union Florida Writer's Association

Publications
USA Gymnastics magazine Technique magazine International Gymnast magazine several newspaper articles

Education/Credentials
Temple University - Health Physical Education, Recreation & Dance Norwich University - Bachelors of Arts in Writing & Literature

Awards and Honors
Several state and national level gymnastics champions in different systems of competition.

Past/Present clients
Gymnasts, coaches, and club owners nation-wide.

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