Information to Guide Community Policymakers

Important Numbers

• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified youth sports injuries as an epidemic and reports that an estimated 60% of such injuries are preventable.

• There are fewer than 9 million professional, collegiate and high school athletes, compared to 60 million (ncys. org) recreational athletes--whose safety is largely the responsibility of community authorities.

• Nationally, only 40% of High School programs and less than 5% of recreational sports programs have access to athletic trainers or physicians. Therefore, the coach’s knowledge of sports medicine is the most viable means to prevent youth sports injury in community sports.

• Public policymakers nationwide have convened experts to address the injury crisis with most experts agreeing that education is the best form of prevention and prudent risk management.

• Recent research in youth football validates that comprehensive coach education results in lower injury rates.

• Underserved and rural communities (73% in Alabama) have considerably less medical coverage of any kind and those coaches should be especially targeted for training.

• The scope of sports injury includes trauma and overuse, concussions, heat illness, and sudden cardiac arrest. The medical consequences of youth sports injuries threaten every community.

• The fiduciary value of prevention to policymakers is a prudent strategy in mitigating liability. Reducing injuries reduces Medicaid claims.

Trends Reveal Escalating Community Risk

• Athletes of all ages, parents, former athletes, and sports organizations have become engaged in an escalating national conversation (driven by the news media) that is compelling risk managers to review their sports injury exposure. Legal liability claims are becoming commonplace.

• An estimated $1 billion is spent on emergency room visits by children with sports injuries, with each state incurring its Medicaid share of the burden.

• The healthcare costs due to sports injuries and later-in-life health consequences are estimated to be $5.5 billion a year.

• Though concussions dominate media coverage, trends indicate that all aspects of sports injuries are rising (15% per year), many with lifelong consequences. Coaching behavior is believed to be a
major factor.

• Declining youth sports participation, partly due to the threat of injury, is associated with increases of occurrences of other maladies such as diabetes. And projections are that the continued
decline in youth sports participation will result in a less healthy society, likely to have a staggering effect on our nation’s workforce and productivity ($560 billion by 2030. -Aspen Institute)

Statistics (pdf)