Basketball Leads the Pack for Traumatic Brain Injury

By , SparkPeople Blogger
It has been reported that more kids participate in basketball than any other youth sport, including soccer and football, making it the number one team sport in the United States. With over 1 million plus kids taking part in this sport, it would not be surprising to read that injury rates would be much higher just because of the sheer number of kids participating.

Before this study was released, if you were to ask me what team sport was most responsible for traumatic brain trauma in kids participating in youth sports, I would have probably said football, maybe even cheerleading, but surprisingly that is not the case. In a recent study published in the October issue of Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, released earlier this week, researchers analyzed data and discovered an alarming trend in the number of traumatic brain injuries reported in children playing basketball.

In this study, reported injuries, including traumatic brain injury, accounted for more than 4 million emergency room visits between 1997 and 2007. According to researchers while this figure was an overall drop in the number of reported basketball injuries from previous years, the same cannot be said about traumatic brain injuries. Researchers concluded that traumatic brain injuries rose 70% in the review period causing great concern amongst the medical community.

According to the reviewed data, researchers reported that sprains and strains were the most widely reported injuries amongst all athletes during this 11 year time frame, however lacerations, fractures and dislocations were most widely reported among boys, while traumatic brain injury and knee issues led the way for the girls. Researchers are not sure if this rise has to do with better recognition of traumatic brain trauma by physicians and/or coaches or if there is a correlation to more aggressive action on the court from the players.

One surprising statistic was that the largest number of traumatic brain injuries and upper extremities injuries were found in younger children, ages 5-10, while older kids were more vulnerable to lower extremity injuries.

So what does this mean for the kids who elect to participate in this sport?

As a parent, it is important to recognize that being active is still important in helping our kids gain health, fitness, and doing better in school, however, you must have open communication with your child's coach and take early action should your child experience an injury on the court. We want to keep our kids healthy and active well into their adult years.

Click here for a copy of the full study report.

Have you or your child ever suffered from an injury playing basketball? Were you surprised to read of the rise in the number of traumatic brain injuries, especially amongst girls and school age children?