More Than One Million High School Sports Injuries a Year

More than a million injuries occurred among high school athletes last year, with the highest injury rate among football players.

That news appears in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC isn’t discouraging students from playing sports.

Instead, the CDC suggests brushing up on sports safety, such as making sure players are properly hydrated and wear appropriate protective equipment in practices and matches.

The injury stats were gathered by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Columbus Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Certified athletic trainers at 100 nationally representative U.S. high schools provided the data.

Every week during the 2005-2006 school year, the trainers went online to report any injuries among students at their school participating in these nine sports: Boys' baseball, football, and wrestling Girls’ softball and volleyball Boys’ and girls’ basketball and soccer

To be counted in the study, the injuries had to be serious enough to sideline a player for at least one day.

The results show an injury rate of 2.4 injuries per 1,000 practice sessions or competitions for those nine sports; football’s injury rate was nearly twice as high.

Those figures translate to an estimated 1.4 million high school sports injuries nationwide for all nine sports.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that more than a million high school athletes were injured last year.

The data only counted injuries, not injuries per player. It’s possible that some players had multiple injuries.

The injuries ranged in severity. None was fatal, but about half the injuries sidelined players for more than a week.

About 80 percent of the injuries were new injuries, as opposed to recurrent injuries. New injuries raise the odds of repeat injuries, the CDC notes.

By Miranda Hitti,reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

SOURCES: CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Sept. 29, 2006; vol 55: pp 1037-1040. News release, CDC.