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One Injury Can Turn a High School Sport Dream Into a Nightmare

Every afternoon and weekend, millions of children across Illinois participate in team sports. Our high school sports are a big deal. Sports don’t just teach the skills and discipline needed to succeed as an adult; for many teens, sports provide an opportunity to go to college. However, that dream can end in an instant.

Teen athletes age 15 to 17 have the highest rate of emergency room visits for sports injuries. Each year, high school athletes experience two million injuries, 500,000 emergency room visits, and 30,000 hospitalizations. In fact, high school athletes are three times more likely to sustain a serious or catastrophic injury than college athletes.

Concussions

One of the most serious injuries associated with high school sports is a concussion. During the 2008-09 school year, 400,000 high school athletes suffered concussions. Sports-related concussions account for 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries suffered by American children.

Most of us associate concussions with football and high impact sports. Football players do suffer concussions, but so do athletes in traditionally “safer” sports. In 2012, 29,000 female soccer players and 13,000 female basketball players suffered sport-related concussions.

The real danger occurs when athletes are not given time to recover. High school athletes who have suffered a concussion are three times more likely to suffer second concussion in the same season. This puts them at risk of "second impact syndrome," a brain injury caused from a premature return to activity. Second impact syndrome can be fatal.

Heat Illness

The most common injury among high school athletes is exertional heat illness. Exertional heat illness occurs when athletes train in high temperatures. Victims are often overweight or obese; however, any child can suffer a heat-related injury.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of death in young athletes. SCA often occurs because the athlete has an undetected medical condition. The child may seem healthy until cardiac arrest occurs, so it is important that all high school athletes be screened for potential heart conditions.

Did a serious sports injury end your child’s dream? Hupy and Abraham can help parents get accountability. To learn more, call 800-800-5678.

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham