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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Sports-related injuries among high school athletes in the United States

A report recently published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages teens to participate in high school sports to promote a healthy lifestyle and documents a huge increase in high school sports participation in the last thirty years. Although there are documented health benefits of increased physical activity (e.g., weight management, improved self-esteem, and increased strength, endurance, and flexibility), the flip side of which is the increased risk of sports-related injuries.

The CDC sponsored the High School Sports-Related Surveillance Study which asked certified athletic trainers from 100 U.S. high schools, nationally representative of geographic location and school size, to complete an Internet-based survey. In 2005 the project reported that participation in high school sports resulted in an estimated 1.4 million injuries at a rate of 2.4 injuries per 1,000 athlete exposures (i.e., practices or competitions).

Not surprisingly, football had the highest injury rate (4.36 injuries per 1,000 athlete exposures) followed by wrestling (2.50), boys' (2.43) and girls' (2.36) soccer, and girls' basketball (2.01). Boys' basketball, volleyball, baseball, and softball each had injury rates of less than 2.0 injuries per 1,000 athlete exposures. In each sport, the injury rate was higher in competition than practice settings. In each of the nine sports reported on, approximately 80% of the reported injuries were new injuries as opposed to recurrences or complications from previous injuries. Types of injuries varied between practice and competition; for example, concussions and fractures occurred more commonly in competition than practice.

Kids Health

Photo credit: slagheap

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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.