Children involved in athletics are at high risk of suffering sports-related injuries. The tragedy is that many of these injuries are completely preventable.
Serious injuries are far more likely when a child does not have the proper equipment, or coaches, sports team organizers or others have not taken steps to ensure proper safety measures are in place. Broken bones, back and neck injuries, head trauma and brain injuries take place every year during youth organized sports.
April’s Youth Sports Safety Month, sponsored by STOP Sports Injuries, is spotlighting injury risks for children. The objective is to draw attention to the problem by hosting various sports safety events and encouraging social media interaction to assist in reducing the number of preventable youth sports injuries. The theme is “keeping kids in the game for life.”
Childhood Sports-Related Injury Statistics
Statistics gathered by STOP Sports Injuries show there are approximately 30 million children in the United States who are active participants in some form of organized sports.
- Nearly 2 million injuries are sustained by high school athletes yearly.
- 5 million children under the age of 14 are treated for sports-related injuries annually.
- 40 percent of all sports-related injuries treated in U.S. hospitals involve children between the ages of 5 and 14.
- More than half of the sports-related injuries seen among middle school and high school students involve overuse.
- 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among U.S. children result from participation in sports or recreational activities.
- Brain injuries are the most common cause of death in child sports injuries.
- More than 775,000 children up to age 14 are treated in emergency rooms for sports injuries yearly.
- At least half of youth sports-related injuries are preventable.
One of the main problems is that although 62 percent of all youth injuries in organized sports activities take place during practice, not all parents or coaches require the same level of safety in practice as they would demand during a game.
Safe Kids Worldwide reports that 23 percent of coaches, 31 percent of parents and 28 percent of the athletes themselves do not have safety measures in place to prevent injuries during practice or at game time. As a result, 90 percent of young athletes have sustained some type of injury while playing sports and 54 percent admit to continuing to play while injured. It is estimated this rate of injury will result in close to 70 percent of all children dropping out of youth sports by the time they are 13 years old.
Hazards Children Face When Playing Organized Sports
While bumps and bruises are a hazard in any sports-related activity, the perils children face when playing organized sports can be much more significant. Out of the 90 percent of children and young athletes who admit to having been injured while playing a sport, the following are some of the most common injuries:
- Cuts, scrapes and lacerations.
- Sprained or strained muscles.
- Joint soreness.
- Fractured or broken bones.
- Concussions and head injuries.
- Brain injuries.
Players who play through these types of injuries, with coaches or parents who may encourage them to do so, may be far more likely to suffer serious complications or permanent damage.
Dirty play, as well as yelling or trash talk from coaches and other players, can at times, make a player more susceptible to injury. Younger kids often have slower reaction times and are less coordinated, and many sustain injury as a result. Height, weight, skill, improper equipment, inadequate safety gear, lack of adult supervision and overuse can all contribute to youth sports injuries.
What to Do If Your Child Sustains a Sports-Related Injury
If your child sustains a serious injury such as head trauma, and it is then determined the child’s school, coach, physical education instructor, or other responsible individual failed to take reasonable safety measures, you may be able to file a lawsuit seeking damages on behalf of your injured child.
If your child has been injured while playing organized sports, get help from an experienced Rhode Island product liability attorney. Call Marasco & Nesselbush at 855-801-6262 or fill out a contact form to set up a free legal consultation. We have four offices in Providence, Wakefield, Warwick, and Woonsocket to easily serve you.