As the school year begins, many young people will begin partaking in sports activities. The National Athletic Trainers Association reports that there are more than seven million high school students participating in school sports and around 40 million youth between the ages of six and 18 who are part of organized sporting activities. Sports can be a great way to fight childhood obesity and to teach kids about team work and the importance of practice.
Unfortunately, sports activities can also be very dangerous. The Trainers Association reports that there are around 715,000 injuries each year as a result of participation in high school sports. Further, an estimated 8,000 kids visit emergency rooms every single day to get treatment after sporting accidents.
If your child is injured, you need to understand your rights as you may be able to pursue a claim against the school, coach or athletic director whose irresponsibility resulted in harm. Call a personal injury lawyer for help pursuing a claim for compensation.
The Risks of Sports Accidents
Sports accidents can affect every part of the body and frequently have lasting consequences. The National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study provided a detailed list of the types of injuries experienced by young athletes. According to the report for the 2012-2013 school year:
- There were 350,356 injuries in which the head or face was harmed.
- There were 211,526 injuries in which a student athlete's ankle was impacted.
- A total of 201,194 knee injuries occurred among student athletes.
- 128,700 injuries affected the hip or the upper thigh area.
- There were 101,183 wrist or hand injuries.
- A total of 88,166 injuries involved damage to the shoulder.
- The body's trunk was harmed in 70,911 injuries.
- There were 53,144 injuries involving damage to the lower leg.
- A total of 47,474 foot injuries occurred.
- 31,772 neck injuries impacted high school athletes.
Preventing injuries is essential to protect vulnerable young athletes. The National Association of Athletic Trainers has provided tips for reducing the chances that a student athlete will be hurt. The back to school safety tips include the following:
- Student athletes should undergo a thorough pre-participation exam before starting any sports. The exam should include an orthopedic screening.
- Both parents and coaches should ensure that kids are physically and mentally read to participate in a sport before the student joins the team or begins practice.
- All playing surfaces, locker rooms and athletic equipment should be checked at the start of the season and should be kept clean and well-maintained throughout the season.
- Coaches, parents and young athletes should be educated on the signs of concussion. If there is doubt about whether an athlete has a concussion, he should not play.
- The risks of heat stroke must be managed and coaches and athletes should ensure that players are properly acclimated to the weather before practicing or playing.
- An emergency action plan should be written down and reviewed by the athletic director.
If schools, coaches and athletic directors follow some best practices for safety, hopefully the risk of serious injuries for student athletes can be reduced.
If you or a loved one is injured in an accident, contact David J. Glatthorn at 800-990-9394 to discuss your rights. Serving Palm Beach County and all of South Florida.