Homecoming football games are on the horizon, marking a sports season in full swing for countless young athletes across the country.
For many young people, their involvement in sports will mark a crowning achievement in their lives. For some others, it will mark the the beginning of a successful athletic career.
Sadly for others, that involvement could result in a debilitating injury that might not only dash their sports dreams, it could lead to lifelong physical challenges. Our Spartanburg sports injury lawyers have long recognized the reality of risks. Recently-published research highlights the pervasiveness of these types of injuries and, we hope, encourages schools, coaches, parents and players to take the risks seriously.
Child safety advocacy group Safe Kids Worldwide recently culled through scores of hospital emergency room reports to arrive at this figure: 1.35 million hospital visits annually in the U.S. are attributed to a young athlete receiving treatment for a sports-related injury. Most recognize that bruises or bumps occurring occasionally are to be expected. But we’re not talking about the kind of “dust-yourself-off-and-get-back-in-there” type of injury.
We’re talking about fractures, sprains, strains, contusions, abrasions and concussions – all of which top the list of the top child injuries requiring physician attention. And it’s not just older athletes. Kids between the ages of 12 and 15 made up nearly half of all reports of concussions. In the U.S., a child was seen by a doctor for a concussion every three minutes.
While we often think of concussions as being associated with football (and it is no doubt a major risk in this sport), it turns out that girls had a higher percentage of reported concussions. For example, nearly 12 percent of female youth basketball players were treated in the ER for concussions, versus just 7.2 percent of boys. Some of that, we suspect, may have to do with the fact that concussions involving male players may not be taken as seriously by parents, coaches and players – a fact we find especially troubling.
Head injuries were the cause of 14 percent of all child sports injuries, the report indicated. Ankle injuries accounted for 15 percent, finger injuries for 12 percent, knee injuries for 9 percent and facial injuries for 7 percent.
It’s estimated that all totaled, visits cost Americans some $935 million annually.
The report was derived from hospital data from 2011 and 2012. It’s worth noting that of all the kids between the ages of 6 and 19 who end up in the ER, one in five is there for a sports-related ailment. With children, we expect the unexpected. We know that there may be accidents and incidents that occur beyond our control. However, these kinds of sports-related injuries are not only predictable, they are preventable.
Proper, fitted protective gear, clear heat exposure and hydration guidelines and mandated protocol for injuries can help to reduce these injuries. Having experienced health care professionals on hand too can be a major bonus. Children shouldn’t have to a pay a painful or even deadly price just to play sports.
If your child has suffered an injury in Spartanburg, contact the South Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.
Helping Children Play Safely in Sports, June 3, 2013, By Jane E. Brody, The New York Times
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