As young athletes compete in sports, they develop benefits like cardiovascular health and life skills like discipline, teamwork, and work ethic. Though youth sports are great, millions of children are treated each year for sports-related injuries, and more than 3.5 million children ages 14 and younger get injured.
Learning about the most dangerous sports and what sport has the most injuries will help parents and guardians decide the best sport for their children. Though every sport has risks, the following are the top five sports for girls and boys with the most youth sports injuries.
Top 5 Most Dangerous Sports for Youth Girls
Youth soccer is the most popular sport. Soccer is a great sport to learn speed, agility, and coordination that an athlete can transfer to other sports. This sport is featured on both the girls’ and boys’ lists. However, research indicates that girls are more prone to soccer injuries than boys because “studies have shown that males and females are built and have a tendency to move differently.”
The most common injuries deal with the lower extremities. Common injuries include:
- Ankle sprain/strain
- Knee sprain/strain
As with soccer, this sport is featured on both the girls’ and boys’ lists, though girls typically have more knee injuries in lacrosse than boys. With a lot of running, quick changes of direction, and unintentional contact at high speeds, the most common lacrosse injuries include:
- Lower extremity sprains and strains
- ACL tears
- Hand and wrist fractures
A sport with a lot of running, jumping, and passing, basketball is prone to athletic i
njuries. This is another sport featured on both lists. The most common injuries are:
- Ankle sprains
- Finger sprains
- Finger fractures
- Knee sprains
- Facial lacerations
With tumbling, flying, and dance routines, cheerleading is one of the leading sports in injuries. A study found that cheerleading accounted for 65.2% of catastrophic high school injuries. The most common cheerleading injuries are:
- Strains and sprains in the ankle, knee, wrist, lower back, and neck
- Vertebra fractures
Like basketball, volleyball involves a lot of jumping, which can contribute to knee and ankle injuries. With motions such as serving, overuse injuries are also typical. Common volleyball injuries include:
- Ankle sprain
- Finger sprain
- ACL injury
- Collateral ligament injury
- Jumper’s knee
- Low back pain
- Thrower’s shoulder
Top 5 Most Dangerous Sports for Youth Boys
With quick changes of direction, jumping, head-on collisions, and more, tackle football ranks as the most dangerous sport for youth athletes. The most common injuries in youth football are:
- Knee sprains
- Meniscus tears
- Ankle and wrist fractures
- Muscle strains
- Shoulder joint sprains
To avoid serious injuries like concussions, flag football has become popular among young athletes so that they can learn the basic rules and fundamentals of football without contact.
As mentioned earlier, common lacrosse injuries include lower extremity sprains and strains, ACL tears, hand and wrist fractures, and concussions. For both boys and girl
s, lower extremity injuries are the most prevalent. In opposition to girls, most boys’ lacrosse injuries result from contact with another player.
A physically and mentally demanding sport that requires strength, quickness, and endurance, wrestling is a combat sport with the intention to take down and pin an opponent. Wrestlers can get injured from contact or twisting in several positions. Common injuries include:
- Knee injuries (meniscus tears, ligament tears, sprains, and strains)
- Muscle strains
As stated, soccer is the most popular sport and a sport with numerous injuries to both boys and girls. Boys tend to experience more contusions, fractures, and dislocations, but girls typically experience more severe injuries.
Another one of the most popular sports, injuries in basketball are common from a lot of running and jumping. Boys are found to have more facial lacerations, whereas girls have more finger injuries.
Injuries can be preventable. Taking the proper precautions and monitoring your child can keep your young athlete in the game. These include:
- Get a preseason physical
- Wear properly fitting equipment
- Stay hydrated
- Proper nutrition
- Communicate with the coach if something is not right
- Play multiple sports (doing so strengthens other parts of the body not used in a single sport)
- Warm-up/cool down properly
To help keep young athletes in games for life, AOSSM and NCYS have teamed up to present STOP (Sports Trauma and Overuse Prevention) Sports Injuries. Visit their website to learn more about their evidence-based tips on keeping youth athletes safe in sports.
If your athlete experiences athletic injuries, EmergeOrtho—Blue Ridge Region offers sports medicine care to ensure your child can return to playing the sport they love. If an injury needs treatment, you can trust that EmergeOrtho’s board-certified specialist will treat youth sports injuries with great care. Schedule your appointment to see a specialist.