When Safety Is the Name of the Game: Every Year, Millions of Young Athletes End Up in the Hospital. What Parents and Kids Can Do to Prevent Sports Injuries

By Noonan, David | Newsweek, September 22, 2003 | Go to article overview

When Safety Is the Name of the Game: Every Year, Millions of Young Athletes End Up in the Hospital. What Parents and Kids Can Do to Prevent Sports Injuries


Noonan, David, Newsweek


Byline: David Noonan

Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, kids gotta play. And that's what they do. Each year, an estimated 30 million young Americans, high-school age and under, participate in organized sports like football, basketball and soccer. Millions more race around every day on bikes, scooters, skates and skateboards and climb, jump and swing on playground equipment. The benefits of all that physical activity far outweigh the risks, especially these days, when obesity and inactivity plague the videogame generation.

Still, sports and recreation-related injuries are an ever-present threat to young athletes and a constant concern to their parents. With good reason. According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control, more kids receive medical attention for sports injuries each year than for injuries in automobile accidents. During the 12 months ending June 2001, nearly 2 million kids 14 and under were treated in emergency rooms for sports and recreation injuries. (Strains and sprains are the most common, followed by fractures.) The rate of sports injury among kids 5 to 14 is nearly three times the rate for people 25 to 44.

Those numbers add up to a major public-health issue, and the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and others are promoting a variety of guidelines and strategies to reduce them. "We want kids to get up off the couch, we're big cheerleaders for that," says Dr. Julie Gilchrist, a sports-injury expert at the CDC's Center for Injury Prevention and Control. "But be realistic in how you're doing it. Make conscious choices about injury prevention. Don't just take it for granted."

Most kids get their first lumps riding their bikes and cavorting on the playground. The CDC estimates that more than 330,000 children from 5 to 14 are injured while bicycling each year. An additional 219,000 in that age group are hurt on monkey bars and other climbing equipment, swings and slides. Wearing a helmet that fits properly is the surest way to avoid serious injury on a bike. (Helmets are also the key to safer skateboarding, which accounts for about 50,000 injuries among people under 20 each year, including many head injuries.) At the playground, where 60 percent of injuries are due to falls, a soft surface to land on is a top priority. Wood chips, shredded tires and sand are good; packed-down soil is bad.

Organized sports, including football, are generally less risky for the 10-and-under crowd because the kids usually aren't big enough or fast enough to make collisions a serious problem. But that all changes when the hormones kick in. "At puberty, children gain muscle mass, speed and weight," says pediatric orthopedic surgeon J. Andy Sullivan, coeditor of the book "Care of the Young Athlete." "And the combination of those things allows them to run together hard enough to hurt each other."

There is no reliable way to compare the relative risks of various sports because the CDC doesn't track the level of participation. It knows how many people are injured playing basketball, for example (an estimated 977,000 each year, all ages), but it doesn't know how many people are playing the game, or for how long or how many days a week. "Basketball is one of the most common sports in all ages and areas of the U.S.," says Gilchrist, "and so just because it has the highest number of injuries doesn't mean that it's riskier. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

When Safety Is the Name of the Game: Every Year, Millions of Young Athletes End Up in the Hospital. What Parents and Kids Can Do to Prevent Sports Injuries
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.