Statistics reveal disturbing number of sports-related injuries in US

August 8, 2013

Topic: injury prevention for kids

Statistics reveal disturbing number of sports-related injuries in US

According to hospital emergency room reports, the number of sports-related injuries suffered by young athletes has risen an unsettling amount, with football injuries leading the way. This is particularly disturbing in such a young population - kids between the ages of six and 19 - because these individuals take longer to heal than adults. 

The data, accumulated by Safe Kids Worldwide, showed that 1.35 million annual emergency room visits are from young athletes who have suffered a serious sports injury. That equals one severe sports-related injury for every 25 seconds. In a population whose individuals are still growing, that can mean permanent damage - and it is not the whole story. 

USA Today noted that these statistics only account for ER visits. They exclude injuries taken to urgent care facilities, pediatricians, physicians, sports medicine clinics and ones that were not reported at all. And an injury suffered by a young athlete doesn't just mean a longer healing time - repeated brain trauma can be troublesome in later years. 

Concussions make up 12 percent of the 1.35 million yearly sports-related injuries for youth athletes. Safe Kids Worldwide noted that adds up to one ER visit for a concussion every three minutes. 

"The study details both the types of injuries and the rates of injuries for the most popular sports," said Kate Carr, president and CEO of the organization. "Not surprising, in 2011, the sport with the most injuries is football, which also has the highest concussion rate. Wrestling and cheerleading have the second and third highest concussion rate."

Injury prevention for kids
Safe Kids Worldwide stated that injury prevention can start with parents and coaches getting educated on what precautions to take, both at home and on the field. Some common injuries can be avoided simply by hydrating, engaging in warm-up exercises and stretching. Coaches should also encourage athletes to be vocal about injuries or pain so they do not lead to more serious medical complications. 

The source also noted that coaches have expressed feeling pressured to keep an injured athlete in the game because of the participant's parents. Team leaders should err on the side of caution when it comes to sports injuries so as not to cut the youth's career short. Athletes should also give themselves proper time to heal before jumping back into the game. 

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