Youth sports have become interwoven into American culture. Over 60% of all children play some form of sport outside of school. This equates to over 4.5 million children in the U.S. playing a youth sport each year. Many of these children develop high hopes of moving up to the big leagues. However, for some, this dream is shattered due to serious injuries.
New data shows that an astonishing 3.5 million youths are injured playing sports each year. These injuries consist of far more than bumps and bruises. Over 1.35 million children are seriously injured, requiring a visit to the emergency room, each year. In fact, every 25 seconds a young athlete will pay a visit to the emergency room for a sports related injury.
While these statistics are alarming, what is perhaps more troubling is the fact that the number of sports related injuries amongst youths is on the rise. The rate of injuries sustained by school aged children playing football and baseball has increased by 60% in just the past few years.
Concussions are among the most serious of injuries sustained by young athletes, and they occur far too often. Nearly 150,000 youth football players sustained concussions last year alone. Concussions are the cause for nearly 15% of all emergency room visits. Further, the number of youth football players suffering from concussions has doubled in the last decade.
In fact, high school football has become a more dangerous sport than college football. High school football players sustain over twice as many concussions as college aged players. Further, while youths typically heal quicker and more efficiently than older adults, recovery from a concussion is an exception. Concussions are the only major injury where children take longer to heal than adults. This increased recovery period is attributed to the fact that children’s brains are still maturing.
Even more disquieting is a study recently published by the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences. This study found that seven year olds who play football suffer from hits to the head comparable to those in high school and college. Researchers explained that the force of the impact is not dependent upon the size of the person or their speed. Rather, it has to do with how a person’s body is designed. Children have disproportionately large heads and weak necks, causing greater motion in their bodies. This motion leads to traumatic brain injury.
Football players are not the only youth sport players to suffer injuries. Baseball leads to high numbers of ligament tears and sprains, which can cause lasting damage and destroy a youth’s hopes for the major leagues. Wrestling and cheerleading are two other dangerous sports, causing nearly 15 concussion injuries per 10,000 athletes. Surprisingly, cycling rates among the most treacherous of sports as well, causing over 85,000 head injuries a year.
Here in Mississippi, youth football is an extremely popular sport. With that popularity, sadly, comes thousands of concussions and other sports related injuries a year. Currently, Mississippi is the only state without a youth concussion safety law. Lawmakers hope to change that next year with passage of a bill backed by the NFL.
If your child has experienced an injury while playing a youth sport, the Giddens Law Firm can help. We are a team of personal injury attorneys with extensive experience and knowledge in the field of sports related injuries. As parents ourselves, we know how devastating it can be to see your child suffer. We will zealously fight to see that your child is provided with the medical care and compensation he or she deserves. Call our office today at 601-355-2022 to schedule a free consultation.