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Musculoskeletal Injury and Arthritis

Youth Sports Injury Prevention

Head Injury and Concussion

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Sports participation is on the rise for children and adolescents in the United States. Each year, more than 20 million American youth participate in school or community sports. This results in approximately one million serious sports-related injuries occurring annually, requiring hospitalization, surgery, missed school, or at least half a day in bed. The social and economic consequences related to sports injury incidents are substantial, and are estimated to cost thousands of millions of dollars in the U.S. each year.

It is estimated that sports-related injuries account for 41 percent of musculoskeletal injury treated in emergency rooms in 5- to 21-year-olds. These injuries include:

  • Sprains to ligaments and tendons
  • Strains to muscles
  • Bone fractures

Overuse injuries that are a consequence of competitive year-round participation and specialization in one sport. Types include:

  • Damage to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments commonly occurring in the shoulder and elbow in sports involving throwing
  • Injuries to the leg, knee, ankle and foot from running and jumping

Brain Injuries:

  • Annually, approximately 300,000 mild to traumatic brain injuries are classified as sports-related
  • Twenty percent of all high school football players sustain brain injuries
  • Concussions

Spinal Cord Injuries:

  • Approximately 55 percent of all spinal cord injuries occur between the ages of 16 and 30
  • Eight percent result from sports injuries

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The Center was originally chartered to focus on sport injury prevention, and it continues to conduct research and educational programs to address how youth and adolescents can enjoy lifelong optimal health by avoiding sport-related injuries during their formative years.

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Carol Hutchins
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Carol Hutchins has seen a lot as a college softball player, and now as coach of the Wolverines for more than 25 years. Hutchins coached the team in 2005, winning the first NCAA championship title ever won by a softball team located north of the Mason-Dixon Line.