By Lucy Hanson
Can you guess what accounts for two million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits, and 30,000 hospitalizations each year? I bet you would never have expected the answer to be high school athletes, (“Youth Sports Injury Statistics,” Lisa Weisenberger, www.stopsportsinjuries.org).
High school athletes across the United States sustain about 300,000 concussions every year. Concussions account for 15% of all high school sports-related injuries. In fact, concussion rates for high school athletics have increased by 16% annually from the 1997-1998 to 2007-2008 academic years, (“Concussion Statistics for High School Sports,” Lindsay Barton, www.momsteam.com).
Of all the high school sports, football has consistently been the sport with the greatest proportion of concussions, 47.1%, and the highest concussion rate, 6.4 concussions per 10,000 athletic exposures. In nearly every American football game, at least one player sustains a mild concussion. There are about 67,000 diagnosed concussions in high school football every year, (“Concussion Statistics for High School Sports,” Lindsay Barton, www.momsteam.com). According to research by The New York Times, at least 50 high school or younger football players from 20 different states have died or sustained serious head injuries on the field since 1997.
Some people believe however, that the risk of sustaining an injury is something all athletes assume before they even go into the sport.
Gino Trevellini, a senior on the football team said, “When one joins a sport, especially a contact sport, they automatically assume the risk of injury. There are techniques, if used properly, which can significantly reduce the risk of injury. Everyone playing knows there is a risk of getting injured.”
The captain of the girls’ soccer team and girls’ lacrosse team, Laurie Davis ’13 had a similar opinion. She said, “I have never been seriously injured, but most of my teammates have. It’s part of the game and if you love the sport enough you have to learn to accept it. To some degree, it’s inevitable.”
Interestingly enough, this was the first year that all PSAL coaches were mandated to be certified in concussion training. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) made all PSAL coaches complete a course called “Concussion in Youth Sports Training.” Before this school year, coaches only had to be certified in AED, CPR, and first aid. Coach of the volleyball team, Rosanne D’Augusta, attended this course and is now certified.
D’Augusta said, “The class brought awareness to coaches regarding potential head injuries. We were shown clips of high school athletes who had been injured and it was very touching. I am glad to have gotten this training and hopefully we save lives.”
According to the CDC, more than half of all sports injuries in children are preventable. Through proper conditioning, training, and equipment, many high school sports injuries are avoidable. It is important for athletes to continue training and conditioning during the off-season in order for them to stay in shape and not get hurt during the sport season (“High School Sports Injuries,” American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons).
High school sports injuries are seriously overlooked. When a high school student decides to play a sport, they generally don’t think of the traumatic injuries they may suffer. Their parents and coaches don’t think of these things either. High school athletes need to be more careful, and so do their coaches.