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Statistics on Youth Sports Safety

  • There were 120 sports-related deaths of young athletes in 2008-2009; 50 in 2010; and 40 in 2011.
  • Approximately 8,000 children are treated in emergency rooms each day for sports-related injures.
  • Among children, those aged 15-17 experience the highest emergency room visits for sports injuries.
  • Rates of sports injury visits to ERs were highest in remote rural settings.
  • High school athletes suffer 2 million injures, 500,000 doctor visits and 30,000 hospitalizations each year. 
  • There are three times as many catastrophic football injuries among high school athletes as college athletes.  
  • History of injury is often a risk factor for future injury, making prevention critical.  
  • 62% of organized sports-related injuries occur during practices.
  • Only 42% of high schools hace access to athletic training services.
  • 47% of school nationally fall short of the federally recommended nurse-to-student ratio.  Many schools have no nurse at all.  
  • Ninety-six percent of Americans feel it's important for young athletes to be evaluated by a qualified health care professional before they begin palying sports.  



  • 50% of "second impact syndrome" incidents - brain injury caused from a premature return to activity after suffering initial injury (concussion) - result in death.  
  • Female high school soccer athletes suffer almost 40% more concussions than males (29,000 annually)
  • Female high school basketball players suffer 240% more concussions than males (13,000).
  • 400,000 brain injuries (concussions) occurred in high school athletics during the 2008-09 school year.
  • 15.8% of football players who sustain a concussion severe enough to cause loss of consciousness return to play the same day.
  • Emergency department visits for concussions sustained during organized team sports doubled among 8-13 year olds between 1997 and 2007 and nearly tripled among older youth.  
  • Concussion rates more than doubled among students age 8-19 participating in sports like basketball, soccer and football between 1997-2007, even as participation in those sports declined.  
  • A 2011 study of U.S. high schools with at least one athletic trainer on staff found that concussions accounted for nearly 15% of all sports related injuries reported to athletic trainers.  
  • High school athletes who have been concussed are three times more likely to suffer another concussion in the same season.
  • Females aged 10-19 years sustained sports- and recreation-related TBIs most often while playing soccer or basketball or whole bicycling.  
  • More than 248,000 children visited hospital emergency departments in 2009 for concussions and other traumatic brain injuries related to sports and recreation.
  • Injuries associated with participation in sports and recreational activities account for 21% of all traumatic brain injuries among children in the United States.


Heat Illness

  • High school athletes, especially males, are at the highest risk of suffering exertional heat illness requiring treatment in U.S. hospital emergency rooms.  
  • 31 high school players died of heat stroke complications between 1995 and 2009.  
  • 64.7% of football players sustaining a heat illness were wither overweight or obese.
  • The number of heat-related injuries from 1997 to 2006 increased 133%.  Youth accounted for the largest proportion of heat-related injuries or 47.6%.
  • 2 out of 3 kids show up for practice at least significantly dehydrated.  


Sudden Cardiac Arrest

  • Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of death in exercising young athletes.
  • It's estimated that more than 95% of cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital
  • Just one in 10 U.S. student-athletes who suffer sudden cardiac arrest survives.
  • The incidence of out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest in high school athletes ranges from 0.28 to 1 death per 100,000 high school athletes annually in the U.S.



  • EIA (exercise-induced asthma) affects 12-15% of the population.
  • It is estimated that 80-90% of all individuals who have alleric asthma will experience symptoms of EIA with vigorous exercise of activity.  For teenagers and young adults this is often the most common cause of athletma symptoms.  


Exertional Sickling

  • Sickle cell trait was the primary cause of death for 15 out of the 2,387 athlete deaths recorded in the 30-Year U.S. National Registry of Sudden Death in Athletes.
  • Young athletes with sickle cell trait may be at an increased risk of heat-related illnesses and their complications.  
  • Predisposing factors to exertional sickling include heat, dehydration, altitude, asthma, high intensity exercise with few rest intervals.  


-Youth Sports Safety Alliance; Preventing Sudden Death in Youth Sports