UPDATED: Basketball Concussions - Over 375,000 Per Year

Thursday, January 20, 2011
GoLocalProv Health Team

Parents and coaches of youth football players are, more than ever, cognizant of the dangers and warning signs of concussions, thanks in part to widespread media coverage. However, researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that more than 4 million basketball-related injuries were treated in emergency departments during a study among children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 19 conducted from 1997 to 2007. While the number of injuries decreased 22% over the course of the study, the average number of injuries per year (375,350) remained high.

By The Numbers

Data from the study, appearing in the October 2010 issue of Pediatrics, revealed that traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which carry significant risk, increased 70% over the study period despite the overall downward trend in basketball injuries. The study also showed that the most common injuries were sprains and strains to the lower extremities (30%), especially the ankle (24 %), and fractures or dislocations to the upper extremities (15%), specifically to the finger (8%). Adolescents aged 15 to 19 years were more likely than younger athletes to have strains and sprains and cuts. Children aged 5 to 10 years were more likely to be diagnosed with a TBI than athletes aged 11 to 19 years. Boys were more likely to sustain cuts, fractures and dislocations, while TBIs and knee injuries were more common among girls.

Making Changes

“Basketball is a very popular sport and we want to encourage children to continue playing while also reducing the risk of injury,” said Dr. McKenzie, also a faculty member of The Ohio State University College of Medicine. “There are some precautions such as having young children use age-appropriate basketballs, which may decrease the rates of concussions and finger-related injuries.”

Local brain injury resources and support groups can be found through the Brain Injury Association of Rhode Island in Cranston.

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