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High School Football Heroism Is Painful Pursuit


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Twelve of every 1,000 high school football players who played last year were injured during a game. So were 5.21 of every 1,000 girls during game-day soccer.

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Sept. 28 -- Twelve of every 1,000 high school football players who played last year were injured during a game.

Football was the largest single contributor to the estimated two million injuries last year suffered by high school athletes, followed by girls playing soccer who had a game-day injury rate of 5.21 per every 1,000, reported R. Dawn Comstock, Ph.D., of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Ohio State University.

The overall injury rate high school sports was 2.44 for every 1,000 exposures -- either practice or playing time. Moreover, 80% of the reported injuries were new injuries as opposed to recurrences or complications from previous injuries, Dr. Comstock and colleagues here and at the CDC wrote in the Sept. 29 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The authors wrote that high school athletes account for an estimated two million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits, and 30,000 hospitalizations annually.

Roughly half of the injuries were sprains and strains, and athletes missed fewer than seven days of school. Injuries resulting in more than seven days lost were more likely to occur in football, girls' basketball, and wrestling.

When the data were analyzed for all exposures -- practice and actual playing time -- the injury rate per 1,000 athletes was 4.36 for football, 2.50 for wrestling, 2.43 for boys' soccer, 2.36 for girls' soccer, and 2.01 for girls' basketball. The global injury rate for boys' basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball was 2.0 per 1,000 participants.

Calculating just game time injuries the rates were: 12.09 injuries per 1,000 football game exposures, followed by girls' soccer (5.21), boys' soccer (4.22), boys' wrestling (3.93), girls' basketball (3.60) and boys' basketball (2.98).

The researchers calculated the injury rates using an Internet-based data collection tool to scan injury reports from a sample comprised of 100 randomly selected U.S. high schools. The injury data were collected weekly for baseball, football, and wrestling -- boys only -- as well as softball and volleyball for girls. Basketball and soccer data were collected for data for boys and girls.

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