Cheerleading isn't what it used to be.
"It's tumbling -- a lot of tumbling," said Kari Vauhn, owner of Legacy Gymnastics in Eden Prairie.
Vauhn told FOX 9 News she caters to cheerleaders looking to improve their skills "because your number one injury comes from kids who don't have the proper technique."
Gabby Taylor, 18, knows a thing or two about cheerleading injuries. Within two years, she suffered four concussions, a broken collar bone, and on Dec. 17, 2009, Taylor's life changed when the then-15-year-old high school cheerleading captain was trying a new stunt with her team. Taylor was helping catch another girl who came down on her shoulder.
"We did the stunt for the third and final time, and that's the last time I had full motion of my right arm," says Taylor.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Taylor is not alone. Last year, there were nearly 37,000 cheerleaders nationwide how visited emergency rooms. With popularity soaring, the American Academy of Pediatrics studied injury reports from the last few decades and announced cheerleading needs to be considered a sport and held to more strict regulations.
"I think you have to look at it state by state," said Brian Millikin, with Sports and Orthopedic Specialists.
Millikin sees a lot of injuries, but he said the Minnesota State High School League is ahead of the curve because they've been requiring cheerleading coaches to take various safety training since 2005.
"We see a wide variety of head injuries to concussions, shoulder dislocation to ACL injuries," said Millikin. "The question always comes up. Is cheerleading a sport? I would say, 'Yes, it is,' when you look at what they are asked to do physically -- tumbling, running, strength."
Taylor and Vauhn both want even more rules for cheerleaders here and across the county.
"I have cheerleading coaches that come in and we teach them things for tumbling and spotting that are just better for the body," said Vauhn.
While accidents can happen, Taylor turned in her cheerleading career for pageants. She's earned the title Miss Teen Minnesota International 2012 and has made sports safety her platform.
"I think some of these things, they seem like a no brainer," Taylor said. "I never imagined graduating late, not being able to drive and meet my friends, missing my senior prom. Those are things I never thought I would be facing or having issues with in a million years."
Taylor has also been working with the National Center for Sports Safety for nearly two years, and she has one piece of advice for athletes everywhere.
"Trust your body and listen to the pain signals. Your body is telling you something hurts for a reason. You need to honor your body because you only get one," she said.
If you would like to learn more about Gabby Taylor's story or are interested in having her come speak to a team, school or group you can contact her online.
To read the full journal entry about cheerleading released by the American Academy of Pediatrics, click here.