Sports are a pastime for many kids and teens growing up, but athletic activity is also one of the most common ways that kids suffer injuries. Bumps and bruises are common during sports, but more severe injuries also occur despite our best efforts at prevention.
Medical data shows that nearly 300,000 kids and teens are seen in the emergency room every year for traumatic brain injuries, but which sports send the most kids to the emergency room? Thanks to a study published today by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we now have answers.
Sports and Head Injuries
According to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published by the CDC, football was the most common athletic activity of traumatic brain injuries that required an emergency room visit. That was followed by bicycling, basketball, playing on a playground and soccer. Here’s a closer look at findings from the report, which documented ER visits among young athletes from 2010-2016.
- Soccer and playground activities contributed to more TBI-related ER visits among females than all other activities.
- Among males, football accounted for 26.8 percent of TBI-related ER visits.
- Among females, soccer was the most common cause of a TBI-related ER visit.
- An estimated two million kids and teens were seen in the ER for sports-related injuries during the seven-year study.
- Males accounted for about twice as many head injuries as females.
- For males, contact sports accounted for more head injuries (99,784) than non-contact sports (44,848), limited contact sports (29,080) and recreational activities (20,628) combined.
- Contact sports accounted for 45 percent of head injuries, while non-contact, limited contact and recreational activities made up the other 55 percent.
Study authors believe that limiting player-to player contact and passing certain changes could help to reduce the number of annual head injuries.
“Limiting player-to-player contact and rule changes that reduce risk for collisions are critical to preventing TBI in contact and limited-contact sports,” the authors wrote, noting that a prompt diagnosis and treatment plan from a neurospecialist is the preferred course of action following a head injury.
Sports carry an inherent amount of risk, so while we can’t prevent all head injuries, as a parent, educate yourself on the effects of a concussion and TBI, and learn to spot the symptoms in your child or in their teammates. Undiagnosed head injuries can lead to lingering problems, so the best way to treat these injuries is with proactive care. For help with a head injury, or to get a diagnosis and treatment plan, connect with Dr. Chang’s office today.