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The Most Common High School Sports Injuries

April 24, 2018

high-school-sports-injury-statistics.jpgAccording to the most recent statistics from the National Federation of State High School Associations, nearly 8 million teenagers participate in high school sports. That doubles the number of kids who participated in the 1971-72 school year. But just like when you put more cars on the road, you’re bound to have more crashes. With more kids participating, the statistics reflect a rise in injuries.

High school sports injuries are tracked by researchers at the University of Colorado Denver. They’re currently working with athletic trainers to update the most recent statistics collected after the 2015 school year. Back then they found 240 schools reported 9,273 injuries in 22 sports.

So, let’s break down the list of high school sports injury statistics by looking at the sports with the most injuries and the most common types athletic trainers encounter.

Most High School Sports Injuries

Some sports are inherently more dangerous than others. The contact, the number of hits a player takes, or even just the speed of the game can increase the risk.

It’s probably no surprise that football tops the list of high school sports injury statistics. There are nearly four injuries per 1,000 athletes in football.

The other sports near the top of the list include:

  • Girls' soccer: 2.46 injuries/1,000 athlete exposures
  • Boys' wrestling: 2.02 injuries/1,000 athlete exposures
  • Girls' basketball: 1.87 injuries/1,000 athlete exposures
  • Boys' basketball: 1.54 injuries/1,000 athlete exposures
  • Boys' soccer: 1.47 injuries/1,000 athlete exposures
  • Girls' softball: 1.34 injuries/1,000 athlete exposures
  • Girls' volleyball: 1.13 injuries/1,000 athlete exposures

If you look at the full report you will see, not all of the injuries happen during a game. A fair number of high school injuries occur during practice and keep the athlete off the field for a day or more.

High School Sports Injuries: Body Site

According to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, of all high school sports injuries, concussions continue to be a major concern. In fact, their research shows:

  • 2 in 10 high-school athletes who play contact sports — including soccer and lacrosse — will suffer a concussion this year.
  • Girls' soccer sees the second-most concussions of all high school sports.
  • Girls’ basketball sees the third most concussions of all high school sports.

So it should come as no surprise, when you look at the list of high school sports injury statistics, injuries to the head and face are most common. They account for 27 percent of high school sports injuries. The rest of the list includes:

  • Ankle 17.8%
  • Knee 13.4%
  • Hip/thigh/upper leg 9.0%
  • Hand/wrist 7.7% Shoulder 6.4%
  • Lower leg 4.4%
  • Trunk 4.3%
  • Arm/elbow 3.7%
  • Foot 2.5% Neck 1.4%

Researchers contend one of the reasons they believe girls suffer a high number of concussions may have something to do with neck muscle development, but much more research is needed.

Types of High School Sports Injuries

Looking at the list of high school sports injury statistics, one thing will stand out. It’s that four types of injuries tend to be most common. The list includes:

  1. Strain or Sprain
  2. Concussion
  3. Fracture
  4. Contusion

There are more concussions and bruises that occur during a game, but an equal amount of fractures occur between practice and a game.

High school injuries are very common, so players and their families appreciate a well-trained sports medicine expert who has the knowledge and tools to treat sports injuries—no matter how serious.

One way to decrease the risk for injury is to make sure your high school athlete is in tip-top shape. Sports physicals can provide peace of mind for parents whose child wants to play sports. To prepare for your next season, click here to make an appointment. A quick trip to the doctor’s office will allow you, and your son or daughter, to keep their focus on the field.

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