TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - A local cheerleading coaches are responding to disturbing new video showing a high school freshman crying for help during cheerleading camp as she is forced to do splits.
It's a scream heard around the country.
A Denver high school cheerleader being forced into the splits by her teammates despite her cries.
"It seems like the whole team was in on it," said Madison Barfield, a former Cheer Nation athlete and current Cheer Nation coach. "People were laughing while she was crying. It was crazy."
Coaches at Cheer Nation Athletics in Tallahassee make sure that when they stretch, they're doing it right and taking their time.
"I would say take it slow. The main key is being repetitive and consistent," said Dana Brown, Cheer Nation Athletics' co-owner. "Having a little bit of stretch everyday goes a long way."
Being forced into a stretch is not recommended due some of the dangers that can arise, however, if the athlete is ready, a coach knows what they're doing, and they when to stop, that's more acceptable.
"An athlete already has a split and they're trying to push their split further down," said Brown. "At that time, the athlete is prepared for a little assistance from someone helping them, but it's never really forceful.
In the end, each athlete knows their limits and and when they're ready to push a stretch further.
"Even whenever you're stretching someone, you can feel where their limit is," said Barfield. "And then if they say stop, you stop".
The Colorado School District has now placed the coach in question, the school principal, assistant principal, and assistant cheer coach on leave.
Denver Police are involved and have assigned child abuse detectives to investigate.