Concussions, broken bones, and other high school football injuries can cause complications that continue later on in life. High school athletes are three times more likely to sustain injuries than people who play organized team sports outside of school. Over four years, most high school athletes will sustain at least one serious injury.
Playing School Sports Comes with Health Risks
High school sports injuries can cause health problems that require surgery as an adult and lead to chronic pain, physical and mental impairments, and long-term disabilities later in life. The pressure from family, friends, coaches, and peers to play while hurt can lead to additional injuries, exacerbation of current injuries, or even death.
Approximately eight million teenagers participate in school sports each year. Due to a high number of yearly high school sports injuries such as stress fractures, torn ligaments, broken bones, concussions, dental injuries, and heat strokes, high school sports injuries are now closely monitored by school organizations. According to officials, football is linked to the largest number and most serious types of injuries. Injury statistics show that 28 percent of football injuries occur to a player’s face or head, even with a proper helmet. Tackles are responsible for 68 percent of injuries, and 22 percent of injuries occur during blocking. The second largest number of school sports injuries is caused by girls’ soccer. Common injuries include sprained or broken ankles, fractures to the lower legs and knees, and concussions.
In 2015, at least 11 high school football deaths were reported during the football season. During this period, a study was published that showed high school football players sustain twice the number of concussions as college football players. Safety concerns have caused many high schools across the country to hire full-time athletic trainers for their school athletes and buy newer safety equipment. Schools that belong to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) now restrict contact practices to twice a week for football teams, and Ivy League teams do not allow tackling in practices. The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) has launched a program called “At Your Own Risk,” which provides helpful information on school sports safety for athletes, parents, and school officials.
School sports play an important role in a teen’s physical fitness, mental development, and social activities, but the risk of serious injuries must be considered.