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Children Suffer Sport Injuries Every 25 Seconds: Football, Basketball Most Dangerous

Aug 06, 2013 02:25 PM EDT
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A bump and a bruise are common and excepted when participating in contact sports. A new study released Tuesday reported that a staggering 1.35 million children and teens were admitted to emergency rooms for sports-related injuries in 2012.

Sprains and strains, fractures, contusions, abrasions and concussions top the list of sports-related ER diagnoses for children ages 6 to 19, according to a report from the non-profit advocacy group Safe Kids Worldwide. Sports-related injuries make up 20 percent of all ER visits for children and adolescents.

"Ankles are at the top of the list in terms of body parts that take kids into the emergency room," says Kate Carr, president and CEO of the organization. Ankle strains and sprains accounted for the most injuries with 451,480 reported, or 15 percent of all injuries. The most injuries occurred in basketball (249,650), although that sport also had the most players - more than 26 million.

Concussions accounted for 12 percent of cases. Despite being typically associated with football, other sports, such as soccer, wrestling and ice hockey, pose just as big a risk, according to the study.

"One out of every three ice hockey players are at risk of getting a concussion," Carr notes.

Researchers analyzed data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, and focused on pediatric sports injuries related to 14 common sports activities, including football, cheerleading, soccer and basketball. More than 46.5 million children played team sports in 2011.

It finds that in 2012, 12% of all ER visits (163,670) involved a concussion, the equivalent of one every three minutes. Nearly half (47%) were in kids ages 12 to 15.

Football resulted in both the highest number of all pediatric injuries (394,350) and the highest concussion rate (40 per 10,000 athletes). Wrestling and cheerleading had the second- and third-highest concussion rates (15 per 10,000 athletes and 12 per 10,000 athletes, respectively).

The report also calls on communities to pass legislation to protect against concussions, and for those that have laws to ensure they're properly enforced.

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