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>>Youth Sports Injury Facts

  • Each year more than 3.5 million children in the United States under age 15 are treated for sports injuries.
  • Children ages 5 to 14 account for nearly 40 percent of all sports-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments. Injuries increase as children become larger, faster and more competitive.
  • More than half of all sports injuries occur at practice.
  • The number one cause of death among athletes is cardiac disease, traumatic head and neck injury is second, and heat illness ranks third.
  • 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among U.S. children are sports or recreation related.
  • The following percentages of athletes ages 5 to 14 have been injured playing their respective sports:
-- 28% of football players
-- 25% of baseball players
-- 22% of soccer players
-- 15% of basketball players
-- 12% of softball players

Tips for parents, coaches and trainers:

  • The National Center for Sports Safety's PREPARE course educates coaches in the basics of sports safety, emergency response and injury prevention.
  • Coaches should be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). If not, a health committee of parents, trained in first aid and CPR, should be organized to provide basic coverage at practices and games.
  • An emergency plan, detailing how to respond to injuries until professional help arrives, should be developed and communicated to all parents.
  • A fully-stocked first aid kit should be accessible for all practices and games. The kit should include up-to-date medical histories of each player and parents' contact information.
  • One way to prevent heat illness in athletes is proper hydration. Water is an adequate beverage for exercise that lasts less than 45-50 minutes. Otherwise, a sports drink should be provided.

Sources: National Center for Sports Safety (, National Athletic Trainers' Association, National SAFE KIDS Campaign.