Over 1 Million U.S. High School Athletic Injuries Annually

Football is first on list with 4.36 injuries per 1,000 practices or games

FRIDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- In the United States, football players had the highest injury rate among athletes playing a total of nine high school sports during the 2005-2006 school year, with almost twice the overall injury rate of other sports, according to a report in the Sept. 29 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Columbus Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, used an Internet-survey to ask 100 U.S. high schools about injuries in athletes involved in girls' and boys' soccer and basketball, football, baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball and wrestling.

The researchers found that 4.2 million students were sidelined one or more days by 1.4 million injuries in 2005-2006, for 2.4 injuries per 1,000 practices or games. Football players had 4.36 injuries per 1,000 exposures. Boys' soccer and girls' basketball had slightly higher injury rates than girls' soccer and boys' basketball.

More injuries happened during competition than practice. More than four out of five injuries were new, highlighting the need for prevention, the researchers report.

"This pilot study demonstrates that participation and injury data can be collected to calculate exposure-based injury rates," the authors write. "The results support the feasibility and value of targeting research and prevention strategies to those students most at risk for sports-related injuries."

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