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Children's Health

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Basketball Injuries Land Many Kids in ER

Basketball-Related Strains, Sprains Most Common, But Traumatic Brain Injuries Up 70%

Basketball Injuries Should Be a Major Concern continued...

The injuries occurred all year long, but 44.4% occurred between December and March.

The highest incidence for injuries was in January, during which 12.6% occurred.

The study also found:

  • Patients required hospitalization in 33,753 cases, or 0.8%, and boys were more likely than girls to be admitted.
  • Kids aged 5-10 years were more likely than youths aged 11-19 years to be hospitalized.
  • Fractures and dislocations accounted for 57% of all hospital admissions, and traumatic brain injuries accounted for 14.1%.
  • 8.4% of the injuries involved finger injuries.
  • 36.1% of injuries occurred at a sports or recreational facility. Lower extremity injuries accounted for 42% of the total, followed by 37.2% to upper extremities, and 16.4% to the head.

Traumatic Brain Injuries on the Rise

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) accounted for 2.6% of the total. TBIs were more likely to be suffered by youths aged 5-10 years than children aged 11-19 years and also were more likely to occur between December and February than the rest of the year.

Researchers expressed alarm at the increasing number of traumatic brain injuries, which increased 70%, from 7,030 in 1997 to 11,948 in 2007.

Know Symptoms of Concussion and TBIs

Awareness of TBIs may explain some of the increases in this injury, but other contributing factors may include increasing levels of competitiveness, intensity of training, and play beginning at younger ages.

Over the entire study period, the proportion of traumatic brain injuries doubled for boys and tripled for girls, which may be attributable to an increase in the size of players and in the strength of girls.

“To address the problem of TBIs and to manage them effectively, education of coaches and athletes is vital,” the authors write. They say age-appropriate basketballs should be used and rough play discouraged.

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