Sep 2, 2019
Football accounts for more than half of all sports-related ER hospital visits in September for subjects under the age 18. Emergency Room trips due to soccer and volleyball accidents also rise that month. Every year, the closing weeks of August intensify for Dr. Neeru Jayanthi, an Atlanta-based sports medicine physician. This is due to students returning to school and resuming sports. In turn, the injuries start surging. More teenagers go to the emergency room for sports-related damages in September than at any other interval of the year, according to an examination of two decades of hospital data by GateHouse Media.
The figures come from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, a database operated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for more than forty years. Some 100 hospitals around the country cooperate, sending specific data about a wide spectrum of ER appointments to the commission. Not all sports traumas peak in the autumn. Wrestling- and basketball-related ER visits are at their most eminent in January. Meanwhile, softball and baseball injuries tend to spike in May. Sports medicine specialists say athletes are more at risk for impairment at the opening of the season because they tend to jump back into serious preparation even though their bodies aren’t adapted for it. The pattern has been discerned even at the most elite levels of activity, like in the National Football League, where executives are weighing whether to reduce the preseason due to the predominance of injuries. Many youth sports lost support in recent years, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. Not only are parents more aware of the chance of injury, but kids increasingly are renouncing the high-pressure atmosphere of competitive sports, said Jayanthi. There is a lack of safety training and safety leadership. “It’s great for kids to want intensity,” he said, “but there’s a cost to that as well.” Charelle Tootle, a mother of two from Kansas City, Missouri, said her teenage son Parker removed himself from football due to those anxieties. He sustained a hard concussion in 2014 while trying to eke out a few extra yards on a first down. It was just before his inaugural season as the high school’s varsity quarterback. The recovery method caused Parker to miss months of school, and the anxiety of lasting injury was too much to endure — even for their football-obsessed family. “What my son went through, it’s not worth it,” Tootle said. “When your child is laying on the field, knocked out, there’s nothing scarier. And looking back, I would say no to football.” Football does tend to have unusual concussion measures, according to Safe Kids Worldwide, which used the same ER data to measure injury rates by sport in 2013. Other activities like ice hockey and wrestling had even greater concussion rates. Still, “every sport is safe if the right things are followed,” said Ali Flury, Safe Kids’ sports safety program manager. “You do your pre-participation physical, you do your warmup and stretch routine every single day, you drink water, you wear the appropriate equipment.” ER visits for football-related injuries among older youths dropped dramatically after peaking in 2010 at 12,064, according to the data. Eight years later, ERs treated 7,713 football-related injuries. But a greater portion of those damages was concussion-related. Emergency room doctors state they are heartened to see more budding competitors inquiring about concussions and overuse injuries.
Every year, the final weeks of August are the “last reprieve” for Dr. Neeru Jayanthi, an Atlanta-based sports medicine physician.
That’s because as students return to school and resume sports, the injuries start rolling in.
“We actually prepare for it as high schools and contact sports start opening up,” said Jayanthi, who runs Emory Healthcare’s Sports Medicine Research and Education division. “With the clinics, we already expect to see more volume.”
More children go to the emergency room for sports-related injuries in September than at any other time of the year, according to an analysis of two decades of hospital data by GateHouse Media.
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