What Are The Most Common High School Sports Injuries?

The most common high school sports injuries impact the ankle and foot, while the sport that contributes to the greatest number of injuries is rugby. Ankle sprains remain one of the most common injuries; this is good in a sense because ankle sprains tend to heal quickly with no long lasting repercussions.

Brain or head injuries are far less common, but can have a lasting impact on a young person’s life. Brain injuries are especially scary for high school kids because their brains are still developing.

No matter what sport a teen plays, there’s always the risk they could get hurt. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission even sports as non-contact as bowling contribute to a number of high school sports injuries. Every year, there are around 764 teens between 13 and 17-years-old injured while participating in a high school bowling league. Male injuries account for 49.4% of bowling injuries, while female injuries total 50.7%. Out of all sports, bowling is ranked as the twentieth most dangerous.

While football is often associated with head injuries, that doesn’t mean it’s the most common injury football players encounter out on the field. Below is a list of high school sports and the most commonly injured body part associated with that sport.

-Rugby (Most commonly injured body part: Head)

-Field Hockey (Finger)

-Tennis (Ankle)

-Skiing (Head)

-Ice Skating (Wrist)

-Horseback riding: (Head)

-Lacrosse: (Head)

-Track and field: (Ankle)

-Weight Lifting: (Finger)

-Snowboarding (Wrist)

-Ice Hockey (Head)

-Volleyball (Ankle)

-Softball (Ankle)

-Wrestling, boxing and other martial art sports (Shoulder)

-Gymnastics, cheerleading and dance (Ankle)

-Baseball (Face)

-Soccer (Ankle)

-Football (Finger)

-Basketball (Ankle)

The Most Common High School Sports-Related Injury: Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains account for one in six high school sports-related injuries. According to Internet-based reporting system National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance System (RIO), ankle sprains account for 16% of all injuries suffered across 20 different sports. All reported injuries were serious enough to restrict students’ participation in sports for at least one day. They also required medical attention from a certified athletic trainer or physician.

Majority of ankle sprains are not serious and do not cause lasting issues. 50% of the time, ankle sprains took players out of the game for no more than one week. Less than 1% required student athletes to undergo surgery. The anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) was involved in 85.3% of sprains, a much higher percentage than any other ankle ligament. 

What Are The Chances Of Spraining Your Ankle?

The actual odds of an ankle sprain happening to you are around 3.13 injuries per 10,000 athletic exposures. Boys have a slightly greater chance of injury at 3.14 per 10,000, and girls at 3.11 per 10,000 exposures. Yet, when looking solely at gender-comparable sports (volleyball, basketball, track and field, etc.) rates of injury were slightly higher for girls.   

Girls were more likely to become injured with an ankle sprain when playing soccer, track and field and baseball/softball. There were no differences between male and female injuries in volleyball, lacrosse or basketball.

Who Is It At The Greatest Risk Of Injury?

Your risks of becoming injured while playing sports relate to a number of factors including:

You’ve been injured in the past. If you have ever sprained your ankle you are much more likely to become injured again. This is especially true if your sport involves a lot of jumping and landing, such as cheerleading, gymnastics or boys’ basketball.

You play a high-contact sport. 42.2% of all ankle injuries occurred as a result of player-on-player contact. 26.7% of injuries occurred from contact with playing surface and 25.5% accounted for all other sprains. 

You wear a lace-up brace. The effectiveness of braces remains unclear. According to the numbers, 10.6% of all injuries occur to athletes wearing a brace. Of these injuries, 75.4% involved a lace up brace, 14.1% involved a rigid frame brace, and 8.6% involved a neoprene sleeve. Interestingly, the number of injuries related to braces was higher for these sports: Boys’ basketball, girls’ basketball, girls’ volleyball, boys’ football and girls’ gymnastics.

Play On!

The risk of injury is always possible, but taking the proper precautions can help prevent serious injuries or even death. Chief executive officer of the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut, Doug Casa, Ph.D., said, “Nearly all non-traumatic deaths in sport are preventable.”

Getting sports physicals is one way to prevent injuries and even sudden death. It’s so important that a player is physically healthy and fit enough to participate in sports.

We welcome you to walk into Urgent Medical Center anytime, no matter if you need a same-day sports physical, or treatment following a sports injury.

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