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What Are the Deadliest High School Sports in Illinois?

More than 7.6 million high school students play sports. Participating in school sports keeps children physically active and allows them to develop the skills and discipline to help them succeed later in life. In fact, 95 percent of vice presidents of Fortune 500 companies played high school sports. But school sports can also be dangerous. Each year, 100 to 150 young people die while playing high school and youth sports.

When you think of dangerous sports, you probably think of ice hockey and football. These sports are on the list of most dangerous sports, but the sports at the top of the list might surprise you. These statistics are based on data gathered by the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research from 1982-2011.

Most Dangerous High School Sports

  • Boys’ softball: fatality rate of 2.89 per 100,000 children
  • Boys’ water polo: fatality rate of 1.06 per 100,000 children
  • Boys’ gymnastics: fatality rate of .95 per 100,000 children
  • Boys’ football: fatality rate of .81 per 100,000 children
  • Boy lacrosse: fatality rate of .80 per 100,000 children
  • Boys’ basketball: fatality rate of .76 per 100,000 children
  • Boys’ ice hockey: fatality rate of .48 per 100,000 children
  • Boys’ soccer: fatality rate .45 per 100,000 children
  • Girls’ water polo: fatality rate of .42 per 100,000 children
  • Boys’ cross-country: fatality rate of .36 per 100,000 children

Ten Safety Tips for Illinois Teen Athletes

Any sport can be dangerous without proper precautions. These tips can help you keep your young athlete safe.

  1. All student athletes should have a pre-participation medical exam to make sure they are healthy and able to participate in team sports.
  2. Make sure your child has all necessary safety gear.
  3. Make sure all safety gear is in good condition and performs as intended.
  4. In order to avoid overuse injuries, children and teens should participate in one sports team at a time.
  5. Rest days should be built into the practice schedule.
  6. Players should warm up before any practice or game.
  7. Players should cool down and stretch after the game or practice.
  8. Players should be allowed to take rest breaks when necessary.
  9. Water and other fluids should be available to keep young athletes hydrated.
  10. Parents, athletic trainers, and coaches should be alert to injuries and have an emergency plan in place.

If your child suffers a serious injury during a team sport, please contact Hupy and Abraham to learn about your legal rights.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham
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