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Student Well-Being

1.35 Million Youth-Athletes Went to Emergency Rooms in 2012

By Bryan Toporek — August 12, 2013 1 min read

More than 1.35 million children ages 19 and younger went to emergency rooms with sports-related injuries in 2012, according to a new report from the youth-sports-safety organization Safe Kids Worldwide.

Using data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the organization discovered that 20 percent of all injury-related emergency-department visits for children between 6 and 19 could be attributed to sports-related injuries.

Strains and sprains made up roughly one-third of the total sports-related emergency-department visits, with medical personnel seeing 451,480 of these types of injuries in 2012. Fractures and contusions were the next two most common youth-sports-related injuries that resulted in trips to emergency departments, accounting for 18 percent and 16 percent of visits, respectively.

A total of 163,670 children were seen in emergency departments for sports-related concussions during 2012, which represented 12 percent of the total number of visits. Forty-seven percent of those concussions (77,260 in total) were sustained by youth-athletes between the ages of 12 and 15, according to the report.

In sports played by both girls and boys, the females reported a higher proportion of concussions among all injuries compared to their male counterparts. For instance, only 7.2 percent of male basketball players seen in emergency departments went because of a concussion, compared to 11.5 percent of female basketball players.

Ankle injuries made up 15 percent of all youth-sports injuries seen in emergency departments during 2012, followed by injuries to the head (14 percent), finger (12 percent), knee (9 percent), and face (7 percent).

Based on this youth-sports-injury data from 2012, the organization concludes its report with four main suggestions:


  • Get educated about preventing serious sports-related injuries and share that knowledge with parents, athletes, coaches, and officials.
  • Learn skills to prevent injuries while playing sports.
  • Encourage athletes to speak up about injuries.
  • Support coaches and officials in making decisions to prevent serious injuries.

Below, you’ll find much of the data from the report compiled in an easy-to-digest infographic created by Safe Kids Worldwide.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.