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Sports Injuries Spike Among Kids [AUDIO]

Youth sports is a tradition for every generation but a new study found young athletes are finding themselves in hospital emergency rooms at an alarming rate.

Flickr User U.S. Army

A study from Safe Kids Worldwide found that in 2012, 1.35 million young athletes had to go to the emergency room for sports related injuries, a rate of one child every 35 seconds.

“That’s not a doctor’s visit or an outpatient clinic, that’s an emergency clinic for injuries related to sports,” said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide.

The study looked at 14 sports, and found team sports with the most physical contact held the highest risk for brain injuries, including concussions.

“The sports where concussions are most common are no surprise, football and wrestling, but also cheerleading,” said Carr.

More shocking is while concussions showed to be 14 percent of injuries within the sports, children ages 12 to 15 accounted for 47 percent of those suffering from them.

Hockey, though having the least amount of participants in the study, was found to have the highest rate of head injuries with 31 percent. Soccer also ranked very high on the concussion injury chart, with 13 percent of injuries, and was the sport with second highest participants. Basketball has the most participants, but has a relatively low concussion injury rate of 7 percent.  However knee, ankle, and joint issues are more common in the basketball.

Girl’s athletics are proving to be very dangerous, especially for sensitive ligaments. The study found girls are eight times more likely to suffer an ACL injury than their male counterparts.

“I’m not really sure why that’s happening.  “Whether it is the physical construction of girls or the whether there is a hormonal balance issue that is related to it,” said Carr.

Carr warned that severe damage to delicate joints and ligaments at an early age can also set children up for a lifetime of pain or health issues, even leading to a knee replacement at an early age.

While child sports has a long tradition within the American culture, the alarming injury rate is not something seen in years. Carr attributed it to children playing recreational sports more seriously than ever, often year round.

“They’re going from a school sport into a team sport, playing year round in the same sport. Due to that injuries from overuse are on the rise and are occurring in younger and younger kids.”

She said parents should encourage their kids to take it easy, or a the very least change the type of sports their children play in order to minimize the wear and tear on their bodies.

“Take a break from your favorite sport and doing something else. Don’t become a couch potato, we want kids to play sports and we know they’re going to have bumps and bruises, but serious injuries are both preventable and predictable,” said Carr.

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