Sometimes you need more than tumbling mats and crash pads to protect gymnasts. If you read the news, you know you also need a vigilant protector, a parent, guardian, grandparent, to keep your gymnast safe in a news world full of abuses. It’s a horribly painful reality, and it’s not just in the world of gymnastics, though we’re on center stage right now. We must stay active and alert in all of our children’s activities, regardless of how much trust we place in another person or institution. So once again we venture onto the soapbox to proclaim our gymnasts worthy of the utmost protection and care.
We don’t let our little tumblers practice forward rolls on concrete floors, we give them tumbling mats to protect their little bodies from injury. We don’t expect our teens to practice back handsprings on the driveway, we give them crash pads. So why on earth would we send them to practice at a gym without taking just as much care to ensure their safety? Looking into the backgrounds of coaches and teachers, talking to parents of other gymnasts, and having hawk eyes at practice (which we insist on sitting in on) will tell us a lot about the reputation and trustworthiness of those in whose care we entrust our most precious children.
Gymnastics equipment is made to protect and train, just like a good coach. When it comes to your child and his or her interest in the sport, don’t hesitate because of the actions of a handful of vile coaches; do your due diligence as a parent and be absolutely exhaustive in your research. Gymnastics as a sport is one that is worthy of investment and the benefits can be reaped for years and years. But as with any investment, we must do our homework and make sure we know what we’re getting our kiddos into before we take the risk.