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Running Plays Cause Most College, HS Football Injuries

College players get hurt more, but high schoolers more likely to sustain season-ending injuries

THURSDAY, July 26 (HealthDay News) -- College football players are twice as likely to sustain an injury as high school football players, but high school players are more likely to sustain season-ending injuries, researchers report in the August issue of the American Journal of Sports Medicine.

Prasad R. Shankar, M.D., of Ohio State University in Columbus, and colleagues compared the number of football injuries sustained by high school- and collegiate-level football players during the 2005-2006 academic year.

Four of every 1,000 high school football exposures and eight of every collegiate level exposure resulted in an injury. Football exposures were defined as one athlete in one practice or game. Overall, there were 1,881 high school football-related injuries representing an estimated 517,726 injuries nationally. The National Collegiate Athletic Association recorded 3,459 injuries during the 2005-2006 season.

High school football players were more likely to sustain injuries that put an end to their season including fractures and concussions compared with their collegiate-level counterparts. Running plays were the leading cause of injury among football players with running backs and linebackers being the positions most commonly injured.

"Future studies should continue to compare differences in injury patterns in high school and collegiate football, with particular emphasis placed on high-risk plays (running plays) and positions (running backs and linebackers)," the authors conclude.

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