These sports injuries cause the most ER visits among youth, report finds

Nov 15, 2019, 5:57 AM

boys soccer Utah injuries...

High school boys soccer in Utah has been put on probation for the increasing number of ejections. Photo credit: Getty Images.

(CNN) — While sports are an important part of a healthy lifestyle for young people, injuries can happen too — and a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics reveals which activities are most likely to send a young athlete to the emergency room.

The report, published Friday in the National Health Statistics Reports, found that between 2010 and 2016, about 2.7 million emergency department visits for sports injuries each year were made by young people ages 5 to 24.

The top five most frequent activities that caused those visits were:

  1. Football, at 14.1% of the visits
  2. Basketball, at 12.5%
  3. Pedal cycling, at 9.9%
  4. Soccer, at 7.1%
  5. Ice or roller skating or skateboarding, at 6.9%

“These are the sports that account for the most visits,” said Pinyao Anna Rui, main author of the report and a survey statistician at the National Center for Health Statistics.

“Many young Americans engage in some type of sports or recreational activity each year, and sports and recreation-related injuries are a common type of injury seen in hospital emergency departments,” she said. “It’s important to understand the types of injuries that are most commonly seen in the emergency department and which sports account for those injuries in order to monitor and guide injury prevention efforts.”

The report was based on data from the CDC’s 2010-2016 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, and researchers took a close look at the cause of injuries in the data.

How activities and injuries change with age

When injuries were examined by age, the data showed that the most frequent activities causing emergency department visits for sports injuries among children 5 to 9 years old were playground-related injuries, pedal cycling, gymnastics or cheerleading, running or jogging and various unspecific activities.

Among people ages 10 to 14, according to the data, the most frequent activities causing emergency department visits for sports injuries were football, basketball, pedal cycling, soccer and baseball or softball.

Among those ages 15 to 19, the data showed that the most frequent activities causing visits for sports injuries were basketball, football, soccer, pedal cycling, ice or roller skating or skateboarding and baseball or softball.

For young adults ages 20 to 24, the data showed that the most frequent activities causing visits for sports injuries were basketball, ice or roller skating or skateboarding, other unspecified activities, pedal cycling and soccer.

Among all of the patients, ages 5 to 24, sprains and strains or dislocations accounted for the largest percentage of those emergency department visits, at 28.1%, the data showed.

Injuries specifically to the upper and lower extremities accounted for a majority of the emergency department visits, 62.6%, followed by injuries affecting the head and neck at 23%, according to the data.

The report had some limitations, including that it only involved injuries recorded in emergency departments and not injuries recorded elsewhere.

“The study did not include patients who sought care in other settings or who did not seek care,” Rui said. “Thus the estimates in the report are an underestimate of all health care utilization for sports injuries.”

The report also did not assess trends over time.

Yet the researchers wrote in the report that when compared with previous data, the new findings suggest that emergency department visits for sports injuries among youth “have stayed relatively stable in recent years.”

Sports injuries treated with opioids

When it comes to treating these sports injuries, the report found that analgesic medications to relieve pain were given or prescribed at 63.9% of the emergency department visits, and among those, 22.5% were opioids while 41.4% were nonopioid analgesics.

The percentage of opioid analgesics given or prescribed increased to almost half of visits, 46.2%, among patients ages 20 to 24, according to the report.

That finding on opioid prescriptions stood out to Dr. Dennis Cardone, a sports medicine specialist and co-director of the Center for Young Athletes at NYU Langone Sports Health in New York, who was not involved in the new report.

“The numbers were surprising to me,” Cardone said, adding that more recent data could show a reduction in those numbers.

“We’ve all become much more sensitive about prescribing opioids and only prescribing them in the right setting moreso than in the past,” he said. “I’m sure that number will go down significantly, but I was surprised. I was surprised by how high it was. That’s why these studies that look back retrospectively are really good because the findings are often different than what we would expect.”

Since 2016, for instance, there have been stricter approaches among health care providers when it comes to prescribing and facilitating the proper use of opioids.

Cardone went on to point out that the other findings in the new report — such as which sports cause most visits and the types of injuries seen — are what he would have expected.

Overall, to reduce the risk of sports injuries, he said that coaches should remember to follow the practice guidelines that are available for their sport and parents should encourage their children to enjoy a wide variety of activities instead of specializing in just one sport.

“We’re seeing a lot of these overuse injuries, and as someone sticks to one sport, they’re certainly at risk of injury,” Cardone said.

“So less sports specialization and more well-rounded sports,” he said. “Allow them to do what they enjoy and mix it up.”

™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

Image of Ava Saunders, a teen from Heber, Utah, that finally came home from the hospital after bein...

Lindsay Aerts

Heber teen hit in a crosswalk gets warm welcome home

Ava’s Saunders was welcomed home from Primary Children’s Hospital by a police escort and the Wasatch High School Cheer team.

11 minutes ago

FILE: Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks at a rally in Salt Lake City ...

Bridger Beal-Cvetco

RFK Jr. sues Utah lieutenant governor over filing deadline for presidential candidates

Kennedy's campaign argues the early deadline to file signatures violates his First Amendment and 14th Amendment rights.

1 hour ago

Shonie Christensen, domestic violence advocate and survivor, hugs Lindsey Boyer, South Valley Servi...

Don Brinkerhoff

Service for domestic violence survivors expanding in Tooele

South Valley Services in Tooele has seen a spike in the need for services for survivors of domestic violence.

3 hours ago

FILE: New apartments under construction in Herriman are pictured on Feb. 22, 2021....

Adam Small

Utah’s population is growing, even booming

A new report from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute shows Utah's population grew by nearly 56,000 in the past year.

4 hours ago



WATCH: Students describe hearing about active shooter at UNLV

  (CNN) — Las Vegas Metro Police said a suspected shooter on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, campus “has been located and is deceased.” “This is an active investigation. Please continue to avoid the area and watch for responding emergency units,” police said on X. Police were responding to reports of a shooting with multiple […]

6 hours ago

Image of a mother nursing an infant. Intermountain Health is now offering lactation consultations v...

Britt Johnson

Telehealth lactation consultations now available in Utah

Intermountain's telehealth lactation consultations began during the pandemic, and have since proven a popular alternative.

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Human hand holding a protest banner stop vaping message over a crowded street background....

Prosperous Utah Communities

Utah’s Battle to Protect Youth from Vaping Epidemic Faces New Threat as Proposed Rule Threatens Progress

Utah's strict standards of nicotine levels in vaping products are at risk, increasing health hazards associated with use. Read more about how you can advocate for a better future for Utah's youth.

Aerial photo of Bear Lake shoreline with canopies and people camped out on the beach...

Visit Bear Lake

Last-Minute Summer Vacation Planning? Check Out Bear Lake!

Bear Lake is the perfect getaway if you are last-minute summer vacation planning. Enjoy activities with your whole family at this iconic lake.

These sports injuries cause the most ER visits among youth, report finds