Video of cheerleader forced into splits outrages professional dancers

Forcing girls to do the splits is wrong, dancers say.

Michelle Oppel was upset when she saw the video.

"Actually I'm still getting chills and tingles," she says of the video from Colorado showing a cheerleader crying in pain as she's pushed into doing the splits.

Professional dancers we showed the video to were outraged.

WARNING: The video below may be upsetting to some viewers. Discretion is advised.

"As a dancer myself I was pushed into the splits, held into the splits," says Lisa Schmiedeke. "To actually push someone into a position is very painful and can cause a lot of injuries."

Injuries that dancers may not recover from.

 "You could do many injuries involving your hamstrings," Oppel said. "Hip flexors, tendons, you can easily pop a hip out of a joint and your knees if they're not properly placed."

While Oppel has seen the pushing into splits practice done in the past, Schmiedeke says some coaches and teachers still do it.

"I believe a lot of the competitive cheer teams and even competition studios for some of their dancers," Schmiedeke says.

She says that's why parents need to know what type of coach or dancer is working with their children.

" I would recommend to be certified to be teaching acro. Go to the facilities ... there are coaches that are not familiar with the body. Make sure they are teaching things the right way."

Instead of using force, Schmiedeke and Oppel use a different approach called progression.

"They'll go ahead and the splits on their own but never should you have anyone pushing you," Schmiedeke says.

She also noticed another red flag in the video: the teacher's inaction.

"When they tell us OK, stop, we immediately stop. They have reached their limit for that position."

The video was made in Colorado, but we wondered if it had happened in Florida whether the Department of Children and Families would investigate.

They told us yes, they absolutely would.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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