The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Prevent Game-Changing Sports Injuries: Common Accidents Sending Kids to Emergency Rooms

Posted by on Tuesday, September 10th, 2013


Not to alarm you, but did you know that every 25 seconds a young athlete heads to the emergency room with a sports injury?

That means 1.35 million kids are seriously injured playing sports each year, according to a new research report published by Safe Kids Worldwide safety experts at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. The report, titled “Game Changers,” looks into what sports injuries are most common and what communities are doing to limit ER visits.

Youth Sports Injuries: Concussions Remain A Top Concern

Every three minutes, a child is seen for a sports-related concussion. About 12% of ER visits (163,000) are concussions. Almost half of these concussions are suffered by athletes age 12 to 15. Ice hockey, football, wrestling, cheerleading and soccer are chief offenders in this category, according to the data. The problem with concussions is that, despite safety equipment, these accidents are largely unavoidable, given the rules of the game. It was found that only 47% of high school football players who suffered concussions actually reported their injuries. So it is up to teachers, parents and coaches to recognize the symptoms of concussion and have players treated immediately to minimize severity and impairment.

concussion symptoms
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What Other Types of Sports Injuries Are Sending Kids To The ER?

Twenty-one percent of ER injuries involve gashes to the head and face; 15% are ankle injuries; 12% are injuries to the finger; and 9% include knee injuries. Speaking of knees, it was also revealed that girls are eight times more likely to suffer Anterior Cruciate Ligament damage (ACL injury) than boys. One in 10 young female athletes see a specialist for this type of injury, in fact.

– Sprains are the most common diagnosis, which accounts for 451,480 ER visits.

– Fractures are the second most common injury, with 249,500 per year.

– Contusions and abrasions account for 210,640 serious sports injuries.

– There are 163,670 ER visits for concussions.

kid sport infographic
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Statistically speaking, the most dangerous sports to play include:

– Football (8:100 injuries)

– Wrestling (5: 100 injuries)

– Basketball (4: 100 injuries) and

– Soccer (3:100 injuries).

What Can Parents Do To Prevent Game-Changing Sports Injuries?

Naturally, pulling kids out of sports altogether is not the solution. The Institute of Medicine found that only about half of America’s kids and teens get the required amount of exercise needed to lead healthy lives. Kids should participate in rigorous activity for at least 60 minutes per day, but most kids are content to play video games or sit in front of the TV. So it’s great when youngsters find a sport they are passionate about.

It’s important that kids warm up, cool down and stretch to prevent overuse injuries — and learn advanced techniques to land each step properly to avoid ACL injuries. Parents and coaches need to recognize the signs of concussion — drowsiness, headache, slurred speech, confusion and clumsiness — and have these children seen by a medical professional. Sometimes the star player must sit subsequent games out, despite “feeling fine” and wanting to play.


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.