Skip to content

    Children's Health

    Font Size

    Kids' Sports Injuries

    By Jerry Grillo
    WebMD Feature

    More than 1.3 million kids went to the ER with sports injuries in 2012. That’s a lot of torn knee ligaments, sprained ankles, and busted heads.

    Which are the most dangerous activities? And what can you do to keep a young athlete safe?

    Recommended Related to Children

    Duodenal Atresia or Stenosis

    Important It is possible that the main title of the report Duodenal Atresia or Stenosis is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

    Read the Duodenal Atresia or Stenosis article > >

    Bumps and Bruises by the Numbers

    • Football caused the most emergency room visits among U.S. athletes 19 and under (394,350 ER visits in 2012), followed in order by basketball, soccer, and baseball.
    • The body parts most injured are the ankle, head, finger, knee, and face.
    • Strains and sprains are the most commonly diagnosed in kids -- 451,480 annually. Next are broken bones, bruises, scrapes, and concussions.

    The best way to avoid an ER visit is to start preparing before the first snap, tipoff, face-off, or pitch of the season.

    “It starts with a good, all-around preseason physical,” says David Marshall, MD, medical director of the Sports Medicine Program at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. “Not just the physical examination. Let’s teach more about stretching and nutrition and supplements. Let’s teach awareness. I usually don’t get involved until somebody gets injured. But I’d like to see us become more proactive at the front end.”


    A concussion is a blow to the head that can affect the way your brain works. It is the most common type of traumatic brain injury.

    There are more concussions in football than in any other sport: 58,080. That's more than basketball and soccer combined. Almost half the concussions in youth sports occur between ages 12 and 15.

    Symptoms include:

    If your young athlete has any of these symptoms, seek medical attention. Concussions are serious business. Kids who go to the emergency room with sports-related concussions are about twice as likely to be hospitalized as those with non-concussion injuries. Early diagnosis, treatment, and rehab are crucial.

    Raising Awareness of Head Injuries

    With concussions, treatment begins with awareness.

    “In a lot of concussions, a kid might feel dizzy and confused, but there are no outward signs,” Marshall says. “But we’re seeing a trend of more awareness among kids, parents, coaches, school administrators.”

    Today on WebMD

    child with red rash on cheeks
    What’s that rash?
    plate of fruit and veggies
    How healthy is your child’s diet?
    smiling baby
    Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
    Middle school band practice
    Understanding your child’s changing body.

    worried kid
    jennifer aniston
    Measles virus
    sick child

    Child with adhd
    rl with friends
    Child Coughing or Sneezing into Elbow