Concussions on the rise in young athletes

Nationwide, concussions in young athletes jumped 66% between 2001 and 2009 with high school and college-aged women most at-risk.

And although cheerleaders statistically don't get as many concussions as athletes in other sports, the rate of concussions for cheerleaders increased 26% each year from 1998 to 2008 more than any other female sport.

"I think they're not thinking of themselves as just a part-time athlete. Now it's a full time thing. They need to train like an athlete, think like an athlete, and be safe like an athlete," said St. James High School Varsity Cheerleading Coach, Jessica Harrell.

Harrell said her school takes these statistics seriously. Over the past few years, the athletic teams have come up with standard practicing procedures to diagnose and treat concussions, as well as making sure every girl that steps out on the field is as safe as possible.

"We use mats. We make sure that if we are going through our progressions and stunting, we do what's called a roundspot, where all the girls can be in. So if someone were to fall, there'd be an ample amount of people to catch so that we can prevent the injuries," Harrell said.

Many advances have been made in diagnosing and treating concussions over the years, and recent studies also show young women now also have a higher rate of concussions than boys who play the same sport.

"They're wanting to be just as competitive and be noticed, where as instead of just being on the sidelines, they're wanting to compete on their own," Harrell said.