September 13th, 2010
12:01 AM ET

Study: Number of traumatic brain injuries jump among young basketball players

More and more children and teenagers are suffering traumatic brain injuries while playing basketball, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Researchers examined emergency room visits of people under the age of 20 who were treated for basketball related injuries between 1997 and 2007 and found the number of traumatic brain injuries shot up  by 70%.

Overall the proportion for traumatic brain injury doubled for boys and tripled for girls, said senior study author Dr. Laura B. McKenzie. 

Coaches, athletes and parents need to understand what can cause traumatic brain injuries and learn to recognize a possible concussion  according to McKenzie.

The number of basketball related injuries decreased over the course of the study and totaled more than 4 million during the 11 year period.

Still, the study did not include patients who were treated outside of emergency rooms so it's likely the overall number of basketball related injuries is greater, according to McKenzie.

Researchers found strains or sprains to the ankle or other lower extremities to be the most common injuries. Lacerations, fractures, and dislocations affected boys the most and traumatic brain and knee injuries were most common in girls, according to the study.

By age groups, 15 to 19 year-olds accounted for half of the injuries in the study and they also had the highest injury rate of all the ages.   For 5 to 10 year olds, traumatic brain injuries, fractures, dislocations, and injuries to the upper extremities were diagnosed the most, according to the statistics.

26 million youth basketball players aged 6 and older were on the courts in 2007 according to The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Associations and the National Associations of Sports Commissions.


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