Warmer Weather Brings Increased Danger For Our Youth Sports-Related Injuries
Now that warmer temperatures are just around the corner, more kids and teens are involved with warm-weather sports like soccer, baseball, and volleyball. While these sports can provide a safe and healthy environment for kids to learn and grow, there may also be an unfortunate side effects with sports-related injuries. According to a 2013 survey conducted by Safe Kids Worldwide, over 1.35 million children were hospitalized for sports-related injuries in 2012. The survey found that fractures, sprains, contusions, concussions, and abrasions were the most common sports-related injuries in children and teens.
The 2013 report from Safe Kids Worldwide stated that in addition to harming nearly 1.5 million children each year, sports related injuries are also expensive. The report found that over $925 million in medical bills are paid by insurance companies and parents each sports season. According to the report, one in five children in an emergency room is there for sports injuries. Safe Kids president Kate Carr told USA Today that many of these injuries can be prevented. “Far too many kids are arriving in emergency rooms for injuries that are predictable and preventable,” she said. [http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/06/injuries-athletes-kids-sports/2612429/, August 2013]
Data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Electronic Injury Surveillance System was used to identify common injuries in 14 sports- including soccer, basketball, football, cheerleading, and baseball. The report stated that 12 percent of all pediatric ER visits in 2012 involved a concussion. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, this means that a child gets a concussion about once every three minutes. Nearly half of all injuries occurred in children between the ages of 12 and 15.
USA Today reports that injuries in young children are more damaging because their bodies are still growing. Concussions are particularly damaging to young brains. According to Safe Kids, the numbers represented in this survey are likely just a small portion of the sports injuries that children see each year. Some children go to their regular doctor or an urgent care center after an injury rather than the ER, and this study only examined ER statistics.
According to USA Today, earlier studies point to overuse as a cause for many significant injuries. A study from 2013 found that young children who play sports for more hours a week than their age (6 hours for a five-year-old, for example) are 70 percent more likely to have a serious injury during play.
A study conducted by The Ohio State University backs this data. In fact, the Ohio State University study found that the rate of injury in high school studies has increased by more than double between 2005 and 2012. The concussion rate increased from .23 to .51 concussions per 1,000 athlete exposures. However, the researchers believe that better reporting of injuries is the cause behind some of the increases rather than a decrease in safety. Today, more Ohio schools and sports teams have a better injury reporting system and stricter guidelines on what to do after an injury occurs. [http://news.osu.edu/news/2014/05/06/study-concussion-rate-in-high-school-athletes-more-than-doubled-in-7-year-period/, May 2014]
Parents and caregivers can reduce the chances of Ohio sports injuries by taking the following steps:
Always follow all safety guidelines and wear all safety equipment.
Do not allow children to play sports for more hours a week than their age.
Take your child to the ER or an urgent care center if an injury is suspected.