Increase in Youth Basketball Head Injuries

Nicole Dehart, a 12-year-old girl, suffered head injuries last year while playing basketball. Nicole had landed directly on her head and was very confused because of the impact. Doctors examined her and declared she had suffered a concussion. This injury is becoming increasingly common in youth basketball, especially among young girls.

Rise in Head Trauma
Research journal Pediatrics reports that about 375,000 youngsters visit hospitals each year because of basketball-related injuries. Out of these, incidence of head trauma is rising. A research study reveals that head injuries in youth playing basketball have increased by 100% compared to 10 years ago. Other common basketball injuries include dislocations, fractures and cuts. Girls reported more knee or head injuries. While boys’ head injuries doubled over the research period, they tripled among girls.

Basketball is Popular but Risky
Basketball is the most popular sport among youth in the United States. About a million children play this sport each academic year. The injury numbers reported earlier are only emergency room visits. Thousands of other basketball-related injuries have been treated by pediatricians, family doctors, athletic trainers and clinics.

Medical experts say to prevent basketball brain injuries, parents, youth athletes and their coaches need to be educated regarding the risks and dangers. Among all children’s sports, basketball ranks second next to football in causing athletic concussions.

Causes for Basketball Head Injuries
Experts opine that the rising number of basketball-related head injuries may be due to increasing competitiveness in children’s sports. Besides, more number of children have started playing. And, they are starting younger. Another reason is increasing awareness of the risks of head injury in youth sports. The New York Times has published many articles on the risks of concussion in sports. Some states even mandate that coaches should immediately stop an athlete from playing, if he/she suffers a head injury.

Though basketball is not considered a contact sport, there is still a lot of banging in the heat of the action. Head injury rates among girls may be higher because they may be seeking medical attention more than boys.

Meanwhile, Nicole Dehart is fully recovered today. But, her mother and trainer watch over her closely when she plays basketball. Her mother says kids are playing tougher and rougher than ever before.

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