Sports Medicine

Kids Sports Injuries, By the Numbers 

How Many Kids Are Injured in Sports Every Year? 

  • 2.6 million—Number of US children treated in an emergency room each year for an injury related to recreation or sports (ages 0 to 19)
  • 775,000—Number of annual sports-related emergency room visits, involving kids ages 5 to 141


Crash Course in Collision Sports 

  • About 80%—Percentage of sports-related visits to the emergency room that come from football, baseball, soccer, and basketball in kids ages 5 to 14
  • About 40%—Percentage of all sports-related injuries that involve the 5-to-14 age group2


Practice Makes Perfect … But Mishaps Happen

  • 62%—Percentage of injuries in organized sports that happen during practice3


And the Winner Is …

The most common sports injuries in kids include:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Repetitive motion or overuse injuries, such as tendinitis and stress fractures
  • Heat-related illness, such as dehydration and heat exhaustion4


About Those Growth Plates 

  • Growth plates are still-growing areas of tissue near the ends of a child’s long bones, such as the thigh bone
  • The most common locations of growth plate-related sports injuries are:
    • Knee (Osgood-Schlatter’s Disease)
    • Heel (Sever’s Disease)
    • Shoulder (Little-Leaguer’s Shoulder)
    • Elbow (Little-Leaguer’s Elbow)
  • Specialty care and follow-up visits to the care provider help heal and preserve growth plates


What If Sports Injuries Go Untreated? 

  • Sprained ankle—Long-term discomfort, chronic disability, arthritis, and re-injury (1 in 3 people with a sprained ankle re-injure their ankle)
  • Growth plate injury—Crooked limb or a limb that is a different length than the opposite limb
  • Repetitive motion injury—Permanent injury and loss of function in the affected area
  • Torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)—Knee gives out, causing further knee damage
  • Throwing injury (such as a shoulder dislocation)—Future re-injury and inability to continue participating in the sport5


1Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (April 2016)

2Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (February 2011)

3Source: National Athletic Trainers Association

4Source: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (June 2013) 

5Sources: US National Library of Medicine (April 2014), American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle SocietyNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (July 2013), US National Library of Medicine (May 2015), International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy (October 2013)