Brain Injury Spotlight: Sports Injuries
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Surprisingly, athletes ages 12 to 15 make up almost half of the sports-related concussions seen in the ER (47%). This is particularly disturbing because previous research showed that younger athletes, ages 13-16, take a longer time to recover from a concussion than athletes ages 18-22. 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, respectively.
Female athletes are more likely to report a concussion than males in sports that both girls and boys play. For example, 7.2% of injuries seen in the ER for boy basketball players were concussions. In contrast, 11.5% of injuries seen in girl basketball players were concussions.
Safe Kids is calling on communities, sports leagues, coaches, parents and athletes to implement four game changing strategies to protect our young athletes.
- Get educated about sports safety by attending a Safe Kids sports clinic. Go to www.safekids.org for more info.
- Teach athletes injury prevention skills by instilling smart hydration habits, warm-ups and stretches and encouraging plenty of rest between play and throughout the season.
- Encourage athletes to speak up about injuries. It’s OK to ask to sit out.
- Support coaches in injury prevention decisions. A Safe Kids Worldwide 2012 survey found half of coaches admit to being pressured by a parent or athlete to keep an injured athlete in the game. Coaches need to be educated and confident in making decisions that protect the long-term interests of young athletes.
For more information, please visit Safe Kids Worldwide.