Any activity involving motion, height or speed creates the possibility of serious injury. No gymnastics mat is a fail-safe to injury. Never land on head, neck or back onto any type of mat as serious, catastrophic injury, even death, could result. You assume a risk of serious injury in using sports equipment and mats. This risk can be reduced, though not eliminated entirely, by strictly following these rules at all times.
Carefully Check Equipment
Before directly engaging in any gymnastics activity, make sure the equipment is adjusted according to the individual needs, secured properly and is in proper working condition. Always inspect for proper stability, loose fittings and parts before each use. Replace any worn, defective or missing parts before using the equipment. Ensure that any devises to be removed from the equipment after adjustment/transport is undertaken, i.e.. beam crank handle and transporters, are in fact removed before any activity on the equipment is started. If in doubt, do not use the equipment. Ensure that adequate matting appropriate to the activity is in the correct position.
Appreciate The Performance Limits of Gymnastics Mats and Floor Surfaces
To help insure a safe environment, instructors and participants alike must have adequate knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the use and performance limits of gymnastics mats and floor surfaces.
Choose Mats Carefully
The type of mat selected must be appropriate to the activity, sufficient in amount and properly set-up. If in doubt, refer to FIG and USA Gymnastics guidelines.
Use “Base” Mats For Their Intended Purpose
Base mats can be used safely as:
- a resilient surface for performing tumbling activities;
- a primary surface upon which landing mats are placed;
- and a means of leveling the floor surface area to that of the apparatus base plates.
Under no circumstances are they to be used as a training or landing mat alone.
Never Use Landing Mats As A Tumbling or Vaulting Take-Off Surface
Landing mats are designed primarily for shock absorption, not resiliency. The fundamental purpose of landing mats is to help minimize the force of impact commonly associated with controlled, feet-first landings.
Use Additional Matting Where Appropriate
When new and/or difficult skills are being performed, always provide additional matting where appropriate. As skill proficiency increases, the amount of matting can be decreased accordingly to within the acceptable specifications recommended for completions.
Inspect Mats and Floors Carefully On A Regular Basis
Mats and floor surfaces should be inspected regularly for tears, soft spots, separation of foam and fatigue (failure to perform adequately). Defective mats and floors should be removed immediately from service and the activity should be adjusted accordingly.
Safe Use of Gymnastics Mats Requires Constant Vigilance
Instructors and performers alike must maintain constant vigilance regarding potential problems that can arise during the activity and make the necessary safety adjustments. I.E.. Mat slippage on floor, mat to mat separation, performer slippage, uneven mat surface (overlapped mats).
Never Rely on Matting As A Primary Safety Device
Matting must never be used as a safety device in place of performer readiness, appropriate skill progressions, competent instruction/supervision and proper spotting.
Potential Medical Emergencies
Instructors/supervisors should be aware of the potential medical emergencies that could occur in gymnastics and be prepared to adequately respond to them in an appropriate manner.
Be Prepared to Participate
Dress appropriately, follow accepted warm-up practices and be mentally prepared to engage in the activity.
Carelessness Cannot Be Tolerated
Gymnastics is an activity requiring active concentration. Horseplay or any other form of carelessness cannot be tolerated at any time for any reason. Consult your instructor.
Follow Proper Skill Progressions
A safe learning environment includes a correct understanding of the skill being performed and following proper skill progressions. When in doubt, always consult your instructor.
Mastering Basic Skills
Safe learning practices demand mastering basic skills before progressing to new and/or more difficult levels.
Attempting New And/Or Difficult Skills
The readiness and ability level of the performer, the nature of the task and the competency of the spotter all must be taken into consideration when attempting a new or difficult skill.
Proper Landing Technique
Safe dismounts, as well as unintentional falls, require proper landing techniques. No amount of matting can be a fail-safe. Avoid landing on head or neck at all costs as serious catastrophic injuries may result. Once you commit to and/or go for a skill, always follow through to its completion. Be keenly aware that a prime consideration is protection of your head and spinal column.
These safety warnings are reprinted in part from the USGF Safety Manual, 2nd Edition. Safety Posters and Manuals are available on request from USA Gymnastics (formerly USGF). In Canada, contact the Canadian Gymnastics Federation and your provincial federation for additional information.
We strongly recommend that Horizontal Bar Rails be replaced every three years to reduce the possibility of bar breakage. The newer moves being performed are applying greater impact loads and vibrations to the bar.
We also strongly recommend that all equipment cable tie-downs be replaced every 3 years unless required sooner.
We do not recommend the modification of our equipment in any way. Unless noted otherwise, parts manufactured by other manufacturers are not interchangeable with our equipment and vice versa. Any product modifications will negate any product liability and warranty.
Make sure all nuts and bolts are fastened securely.
If T-Handle Locking Devices are used on equipment, make sure they are installed and working properly. Replace worn or malfunctioning parts immediately.
Replace all warning or instruction labels that have been marred or removed. Please contact us if you need additional copies to apply to your equipment and mats.
Where velcro is used, clean with stiff brush to remove lint.
Check all floor mountings to make sure they are securely attached to mounting surfaces.
Check cables, cable terminations, cable hardware and pivot points. Examine these items for wear , loosening and alignment. Replace worn or frayed parts immediately.