COVID-19 Categorization of Risk for STUNT

For the COVID-19 document specific to college, click here.

State and local governing bodies are tasked with determining the level of risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus with respect to various sports. They are also tasked with determining when and under what conditions those sports may be conducted.

As STUNT is a relatively new sport, some in positions to make these classifications may not be familiar with how the game is played. This document has been developed to explain the game of STUNT relative to the potential transmission of the coronavirus. The goal is to assist decision makers in their determination of where STUNT fits within their matrix and provide various options to further mitigate the risk of transmission when playing the game of STUNT.

As there are various labels and levels across the country, this document will use a 5-tier classification; low, medium-low, medium, medium-high, and high. As a precaution, when using a three-tier classification, medium-low and medium-high should be designated up, i.e. medium-low would be considered medium, and medium-high would be considered high.

USA Cheer considers STUNT to be in the Medium-Low risk category with masks and Medium-High risk category without masks.

Key determining factors in this designation include the following:

A STUNT game:

  • Does not involve any direct physical interaction between players of opposing teams.
  • Does not involve sharing of any equipment between players of opposing teams or the same team.
  • Does not involve sharing of playing surface between players of opposing teams.
  • Does not involve close proximity between officials and players, coaches, or support staff. Officials have their own neutral zone and remain off of the team playing surfaces at all times.
  • Can be played without spectators.
  • Can be played while wearing masks. (STUNT rules are determined by USA Cheer, which allows masks as a medical device.)
  • Can be played outside.

Player Interaction in a STUNT Game:

  • Players never have physical interaction with players from the opposing team.
  • Players have some brief physical interaction with their own teammates depending on the quarter of play:
    • Quarter 1 – Partner Stunts: Players interact in cohort units of four athletes, with no physical interaction with other groups or players.
    • Quarter 2 – Pyramids & Tosses: Players interact primarily in cohort units of four athletes, similar to the Partner Stunts quarter. There are brief 5- to 10-second interactions of 12 to 16 athletes within the team for one or two pyramids per routine. This type of interaction only takes place 7 times during the entire game.
    • Quarter 3 – Jumps & Tumbling: All players act independently of each other with no physical interaction.
    • Quarter 4 – Team Routine: Each routine in the 4th quarter combines the previous quarter’s rounds and interaction.

Additional risk mitigation procedures should follow your association, conference, and institutional best practices. Some risk mitigation measures include:

  • General:

    • Periodic testing of athletes, coaches, and officials.
    • Requiring protective masks during practice, games, and on sidelines by all players and personnel. (Masks may be worn during STUNT play)
    • Keeping partner stunt groups together for as many routines as possible and working in functional units for practice.
  • Game environment:
    • Separate team entrances and exits.
    • Provide additional benches or add additional space between chairs in the team bench area.
    • Coaches and officials may keep one full mat clear between them during the coin toss. The official can remain in their neutral zone with teams coming no closer than their third mat from the bench.
    • The challenge rule may be removed to eliminate any close contact with officials.
    • In the event that team separation more than the current 6′ neutral zone is needed, an additional mat may be added to make the neutral zone 12′ wide.
    • Remove end-of-game “high five” ceremonies or any similar interaction with the opposing team.