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What are the Statistics Behind Injuries in Youth Sports? What Should be Done?

By  David Wolf, Attorney and Samantha Vloedman, Law Clerk

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Blog

Poster art illustration of an american football gridiron runningback player running with ball facing front done in retro style with words National League Championship.

Throughout the United States, children are being injured in youth sports every day.  Certainly, there are risks in most every sport. However, many injuries can be prevented with better supervision. Furthermore, when a child is injured, it is vital that coaches and trainers take timely action to address the injury and potential complications. This is especially true when a child suffers a head injury.

Recently a high school football player in Texas was struck so hard during a game that he was knocked completely unconscious. Once the player regained consciousness, the coaching staff and trainers discovered the young player had lost his memory. The memory loss was due to the concussion he suffered as a result of the hit.

Unfortunately, this is an example of only one of the almost 200,000 head injuries that children suffer while playing sports each year. The information regarding exactly which sports the children were playing when the injury was received or the extent of the injury is unclear. Some, but not all States, have reporting requirements for students injured during sports. However, some of the States that require reporting, like Texas, only require injuries in football be reported.

Not all serious injuries or head injuries occur in football. One high school football player had two concussions in a three year period. Each of the two concussions were sustained in a different sport. The first concussion was caused from a hit in football. The second concussion was from being hit in the head with a discus during track practice. Accordingly, only one of the two concussions, the one from football, has a chance of even being reported in Texas.

Parents are concerned for the safety of their children, but also want their children to live healthy active lifestyles. It is difficult for parents to guide their children toward safer sports when there are inaccurate statistics about injuries, if there are statistics that exist at all.

States are beginning to recognize the problem with the lack of reporting of injuries suffered by students during sports. Several States, including Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Idaho, and West Virginia, are placing mandatory reporting requirements of all concussions. The mandatory reporting is required no matter what sport the injury occurs in.

Without knowing the frequency of head injuries, it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine what sports need additional safety measures to keep children safe. By collecting the data regarding injuries, medical value can be obtained. In addition, if head injuries are mandatorily reported in all sports, schools will be able to monitor how many total head injuries students have suffered and in what time period those head injuries have occurred.

Head injuries should not be taken lightly. As noted, a concussion can cause a child to lose his memories. The memory loss described was from a single concussion. It can only be speculated what would happen if a student suffered multiple head injuries in a short amount of time. Better reporting of injuries suffered by student athletes should be implemented.

The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Sports Injuries, Playground Injuries, School Injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.