Long Term Affects of a Youth Sports Injury
Kids today tend to be focused on one sport of interest from a very young age. Many parents hope to groom their child for future success in life through early sports training. They want their kids to be well socialized, self-disciplined and guided toward potential for college scholarships or even a pro sports career. Instead, many kids burn out at a very young age and experience serious injuries that affect them throughout their lifetime. When serious injuries occur, it is important to enlist the support of an experienced Phoenix personal injury attorney familiar with youth sports injuries cases.
Instead of playing sports like kids of past generations did, today’s kids are coached and trained like collegiate or even pro athletes. Kids specialize in one or a few sports and are pushed hard within that activity through structured competitions from increasingly young ages.
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Kids also may play sports year-round, instead of having a season or two seasons of rest like kids of the past. No longer are baseball players summertime athletes. They are now trained year-round for four seasons of games. The same is true of most other sports that engage kids on multiple teams and in multiple leagues throughout the year. Youth specializing in one sport can experience much higher rates of injury than kids playing multiple sports.
Safe Kids Worldwide conducted a study of emergency department visits by youth involved in sports. Results indicated that a child enters a hospital emergency room every 25 seconds in the United States due to a sports-related injury. This adds up to over one million emergency department visits each year.
Youth Sports Injuries Facts
- 35 million kids were seen in hospital emergency departments for sports-related injuries in 2012
- A child is seen by an emergency department doctor in the U.S. for sports-related concussion every three minutes
- Young people aged 12 to 15 experience more concussions than other age groups, at 47 percent
- Football is the most dangerous sport for kids, with 394,350 injuries that occured
- Youth football also causes 40 concussions per 10,000 child athletes each year
- Wrestling is the second ranked for danger to young athletes, with 15 concussions occurring per 10,000 youth participants
- Cheerleading causes the third highest number of youth sports-related concussions, with 12 per 10,000 participants
- One third of all youth league ice hockey injuries are concussions
- The most frequently occurring non-concussion injuries seen as part of ER visits include ankles, head, finger, knee and face, in that order
Youth Sports Injuries Are Severe
Emergency department visits are common for youth sports injuries. Over 1.35 million kids were severely injured in 2012 from their sports participation. Top injuries seen by emergency departments across the country as a result of youth sports activity include:
According to an article on USA Today and Safe Kids Worldwide, youth sports injuries cost more than $935 million in healthcare expenses each year.
Kids who are pushed too hard from a young age also experience other types of health problems from their sports participation. These problems include:
- Physical injuries
- Sleep disturbance
- Chronic pain
Organized Team Sports Result in Many Youth Injuries
The Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) reported in 2011 that over 46.5 million youth were engaged in 14 team sports including soccer, basketball, cheerleading, football, hockey, baseball and others. Among these 14 sports, 12 percent of the involved youth who visited emergency departments were diagnosed with a concussion. Half of those were between the ages of 12 and 15. This means that concussions were experienced by just under 77,000 sports-engaged American youth in 2012.
Overuse Sports Injury in Youth
About 40 percent of emergency department visits for youth between the ages of 5 and 14 years were for sports related injuries. Many of these injuries are due to one sport overexposure or playing too many different sports in one timeframe. These injuries are known as overuse injuries.
Overuse injuries are occurring more often today due to strict sports schedules established by parents and coaches. Without sufficient breaks or rest periods between sports activities and strenuous training, youth are more vulnerable to repetitive injuries once only seen in adult athletes or laborers. Worse yet, these injuries are being experienced by bodies that have not fully grown or developed. The injuries are affecting the young players’ future mobility and functioning through long bone growth-plate injuries experienced in arms and legs. In fact, 15 percent of youth sports-related injuries are growth-plate injuries to the long bones of arms and legs, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Girls Are Particularly Vulnerable to Youth Sports Injury
Girls often experience more concussions than boys, according to the latest report through NEISS by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. In basketball for example, 11.5 percent of female youth participants seen in the ER are diagnosed with concussions, while only 7.2 percent of males are diagnosed with a concussion. The same is true in soccer, as part of which 17.1 percent of female soccer players seen in the ER are diagnosed with brain injuries and concussions, while only 12.4 percent of male counterparts receive concussion diagnosis in the ER.
Who is at Fault for a Youth Sports Injury
Parents are among those holding the blame for sports-related injury in their children. It is the responsibility of a parent to ensure the well-being of their child. But sometimes other parties are negligent, such as schools, coaches, or even protective equipment manufacturers. As an example, coaching staff are under immense pressure for wins to retain their jobs and status as a winning coach. As a result, kids are often pushed far harder than even their parents realize. Youth are often exploited in sports programs and this can cause youth sports-related injury.
Even Little League Baseball (LLB) is aware that youth are being overused by its own sports teams. The commission of LLB took measures in 2007 to eliminate overuse of youth participants. They mandated that kids can only throw up to a maximum number of pitches in a set timeframe, to prevent elbow and shoulder injuries. While this is a good indication of LLB awareness of the youth sports-related injury problem, the rule is hard to enforce when coaches or other staff are independently involved in team leadership.
If your child or adolescent has experienced youth sports-related injuries, their future in sports and even daily activity may be affected. When negligence is involved in these injuries, a claim for medical expenses and other damages may be justified. Speak with a Phoenix injury lawyer at Hirsch & Lyon Accident Law Accident Law today at 602-691-7278 for a free, no-obligation consultation for your youth sports-related injury claim.