Sports-Related Brain Injuries on the Rise

The number of traumatic brain injuries in young athletes has risen by nearly sixty percent in the last ten years. There are two reasons that account for most of the emergency room visits are injuries from biking and football. The increased awareness of the dangers of head injuries may be one of the reasons in the rise of number of cases. Since 2001 the number of young athletes with a traumatic brain injury has gone from 153,375 to 248,418 which is a significant jump of 95,043.

The sports that caused the most injuries include:

  • Football
  • Riding bikes
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Playground activities

Between the ages of ten and nineteen years old, these children accounted for more than seventy percent of all hospital visits. Girls are most likely to be injured playing basketball, bike riding, or soccer while boys are most likely to be injured bicycling and playing football. Under the age of nine, most of the injuries to these children were from riding bikes or playground activities.

The heightened awareness among the coaches and parents about the potential threat of a head injury is also the reason that emergency room visits have increased. Young people with traumatic brain injuries will usually experience a longer recovery time and are at more of a risk to have a serious outcome than adults. Although a child’s brain that is still developing can be resilient, it can also be more vulnerable to the chemical changes that happen after a traumatic brain injury. This type of injury can cause life long impairments of behavior, learning, memory, and emotions.