More high school student-athletes are getting severely injured than ever before. According to a study conducted by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), it was estimated that 5,228,791 sports injuries occurred in the United States. Researchers for this study tapped into 2015 to 2019 injury data from 100 high schools. These schools have athletic trainers who report injuries for five boys’ and four girls’ sports.
In particular, head and neck injuries, as well as more severe injuries that require surgery, are also increasing. Almost 8 million high schoolers are involved in sports, with 57% of those students playing more than one sport.
According to the AAOS study, one of the main culprits of these injuries is football. Arguably the US’s most popular sport, student-athletes are experiencing concussions, knee, and ankle sprains more than ever. Other sports that are at an increased risk of injuries are girls’ soccer and boys’ wrestling.
While the reason why more severe injuries are happening isn’t clear, Jordan Pizzaro, co-author of the study and a medical student at the George Washington University of Medicine and Health Sciences, says that young people aggressively playing one sport too early in life may have something to do with the rising numbers.
But he says that this shouldn’t discourage young athletes from playing sports. Instead, Pizzaro offers some words of advice. “Rotating the sports that kids play throughout the seasons is really important. Don’t focus on one sport, as that will leave you prone to the overuse of specific muscles.”
According to US News and World Report, Dr. Matthew Matava, a professor at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, notes that while injuries are a part of the game, they can also provide many benefits to young athletes. But it’s still important to not push your body too hard. Matava says, “Far too many kids actually play too much, which can increase the risk for injury as well as burnout.”
While I don’t really participate in sports, I do believe it’s important to find the balance between physical activity and not letting yourself become burnt out. No matter what the situation is, too much of anything can hurt you.
What do you think about this? Do you agree? Let me know.
By Jermale Dabney, Sophomore, Lindblom Math and Science Academy
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