Sports Safety: Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates - My Child Has - Children's Hospital Boston
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FlowerSports Safety: Injury Statistics and Incidence Rates
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 Sports Medicine  
The following statistics are the latest available from the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

Injury rates:
  • Approximately 3.5 million children ages 14 and under get hurt annually playing sports or participating in recreational activities.
  • Although death from a sports injury is rare, the leading cause of death from a sports-related injury is a brain injury.
  • Sports and recreational activities contribute to approximately 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among American children.
  • The majority of head injuries sustained in sports or recreational activities occur during bicycling, skateboarding, or skating incidents.
  • More than 775,000 children ages 14 and under are treated in hospital emergency rooms for sports-related injuries each year. Most of the injuries occurred as a result of falls, being struck by an object, collisions, and overexertion during unorganized or informal sports activities.
Where and when:
  • Playground, sports, and bicycle-related injuries occur most often among young children, between the ages of 5 and 9 years old.
  • The highest rates of injury occur in sports that involve contact and collisions.
  • More severe injuries occur in individual sports and recreational activities.
  • Most organized sports-related injuries (60 percent) occur during practice.
Who:
  • Almost six million high school children participate in team sports.
  • Children between 5 and 14 years of age account for almost half (40 percent) of sports-related injuries for all age groups.
  • Approximately 20 million children take part in recreational or competitive sports outside of school.
  • Approximately 20 percent of children participating in sports activities are injured each year, and one in four injuries is considered serious.
  • Children who are less developed than a more mature child of the same age and weight are at increased risk for injury.
  • Sports-related injury severity increases with age.
  • Before puberty, girls and boys suffer the same risk of sports injuries.
  • During puberty, boys suffer injuries more severely than girls.
  • Girls are at higher risk for roller-skating and gymnastics-related injuries.
  • Children who are just beginning a sport or activity are at greater risk for injury.
Types of sports and recreational activities:
Consider the following statistics:
  • basketball - In 1998, nearly 200,000 children ages 5 to 14 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for basketball-related injuries. The majority of the injured children (70 percent) were boys.
  • baseball and softball - In 1998, more than 91,000 children ages 5 to 14 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for baseball-related injuries, and nearly 26,000 children ages 5 to 14 were treated for softball-related injuries. Baseball also has the highest fatality rate among sports for children ages 5 to 14, with three to four children dying from baseball injuries each year.
  • bicycling - In 1998, more than 320,000 children ages 5 to 14 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for bicycle-related injuries. In addition, 225 children ages 14 and under died in bicycle-related crashes in 1997.
  • football - In 1998, more than 159,000 children ages 5 to 14 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for football-related injuries.
  • gymnastics - In 1998, nearly 25,500 children ages 5 to 14 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for gymnastics-related injuries. Among girls' sports, gymnastics has one of the highest injury rates, increasing with the level of competition.
  • ice skating - In 1998, more than 15,500 children ages 5 to 14 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for ice skating-related injuries.
  • in-line skating/roller skating - Since 1992, 33 children ages 14 and under have died from in-line skating injuries, mostly from collisions with motor vehicles. In 1998, more than 67,000 children ages 5 to 14 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for in-line skating-related injuries. In 1998, more than 32,000 children ages 5 to 14 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for roller-skating-related injuries.
  • skateboarding - In 1998, more than 27,500 children ages 5 to 14 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for skateboarding-related injuries.
  • sledding - In 1998, nearly 8,500 children ages 5 to 14 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for sledding-related injuries.
  • snow skiing/snowboarding - In 1997, more than 13,500 children ages 5 to 14 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for snow skiing-related injuries. Another 9,000 children ages 5 to 14 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for snowboarding-related injuries.
  • soccer - In 1998, more than 77,500 children ages 5 to 14 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for soccer-related injuries.
  • trampolines - In 1998, more than 75,000 children ages 14 and under were treated in hospital emergency rooms for trampoline-related injuries. Most trampoline injuries occur at home (90 percent) and involve injury to a child's extremities.
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