Girls Gymnastics Rules Changes Approved for Immediate Implementation

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (August 2, 2007) -- Four rules changes in high school girls gymnastics dealing with matting and padding specifications have been approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Board of Directors with immediate implementation for the 2007-08 school year.

A manufactured sting mat no longer will be permitted to be placed on the runway for vaulting. Instead, one manufactured hand placement mat may be used on the runway (not on the board) for any vault. This mat, which is to be used for assistance in hand placement and extra cushioning, may be 36 inches x 36 inches x 1 3/8 inches or 36 inches x 54 inches x 1 3/8 inches.

The other changes involve the pistons/pedestal (vertical uprights) of the vaulting table, which shall be padded with the manufacturer's protective padding. If a gymnast performs a vault without the pistons/pedestal of the vaulting table padded, the vault is voided and a score of zero is given.

"The vaulting tables are manufactured with padding for the pistons/pedestal," said Becky Oakes, NFHS assistant director and editor of the NFHS Girls Gymnastics Rules Book. "A retrofit table must use manufactured protective padding designed for this purpose. The protective padding is required for risk minimization for the gymnast.

"These matting and padding requirements were recently adopted by USA Gymnastics for risk minimization reasons. The NFHS traditionally has adopted USAG rules related to matting and padding based on its access to information and research in this area. Because these changes involve reducing the risk of injury in girls gymnastics, the NFHS Board of Directors, acting on recommendation of the NFHS Girls Gymnastics Rules Committee, determined an immediate implementation was necessary."

Immediate action also was necessary since NFHS girls gymnastics rules are published on a two-year cycle and were not up for review until next year. These changes will be reflected when the new rules book (2008-10) is published next year.



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