There has recently been a lot of focus on the dramatic increase in concussions and traumatic brain injury among young football players, and justifiably so. However, it is important to remember that concussions can happen in any sport and, yesterday, Tara Parker-Pope, of The New York Times, discussed instances of head trauma among young basketball players.
Medical journal Pediatrics recently reported that close to 375,000 teens and younger children arrive in emergency rooms across the country every year for injuries sustained while playing basketball. Among the injuries reported, the rate of head trauma and brain injury is increasing.
The data was from an 11-year study, focusing on the rate of injuries among young basketball players. Over the course of the study, the total number of head injuries doubled. Broken down by sex, head injuries doubled for boys and tripled for girls.
All in all, the study tallied nearly 110,000 head injuries over the 11-year stretch.
It is important to recognize that the number of participants engaged in basketball is much higher than many other sports and that, taken relatively, basketball records fewer head injuries per x number of participants.
Still, the sheer number of injured athletes is important regardless of what percentage they make up. For example, 3 out of 10 is a lower percentage than 1 out of 2, but would still triple the total number of those affected. (This is for illustrative purposes only and is not based on any of the aforementioned studies.)
The takeaway is that head injuries can happen in any athletic endeavor and, while you cannot stop all of them, being cognizant and ready to react is still a valuable asset.