From the time they are playing soft pitch, to their varsity game of football, children are immersed in athletics. Teamwork is learned, trophies are won, and sometimes, injuries are sustained. The risk for accidents comes with any physical activity, especially in contact sports like football and wrestling.
According to The University of Rochester Medical Center’s website, about 30 million children and teenagers are involved in some form of organized sports and more than 3.5 million injuries happen each year out of these participants. In childhood, nearly one-third of injuries are the result of sports. Though sprains and strains are the most common injuries for children, other more serious injuries do occur and can equate to long-term physical and emotional trauma.
Who is Most at Risk for Injuries?
It is not surprising that high contact sports have the highest percentages of injuries among participants, including football, wrestling, and cheerleading. According to Safekids.org, a study from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) found that concussions are the most common injury, followed by ligament tears in the knees.
Here are some numbers:
- 1.35 million sports-related injuries result in a trip to the emergency room
- Ages 12 to 15 make up 47% of the sport-related concussions treated in the ER
- And what is scary about this is that the younger a child is when a concussion occurs, the longer it takes for their brain to recover
- 62% of sports-related injuries happen at practice rather than games
Typically, a child’s care and treatment is covered so long as you have medical insurance. The problem today is that health insurance is becoming increasingly more expensive and families are having to pay higher deductibles, leaving the families in financial hardship. Even more, some health insurance plans have limited or non-existent coverage for various treatments that may be needed for certain injuries.
What Can You Do to Prevent Injuries?
If you have a child playing a sport, or may play it in the future, look into the injury statistics with your school’s athletic department, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), or Safe Kids USA. Be sure to also inquire with your health insurance provider about the sport-related injuries that are covered under you plan, as some activities, like cheerleading, may not be considered a sport and would not be covered.
Another step to take is to ask your school district or athletic association if they have insurance that would cover your child if they would be injured during a sports activity. Depending on the sport, be sure that your child is equipped with all of the proper safety equipment and protective gear.
Concerns to Inquire with Your Personal Injury Attorney
Whenever physical harm is a possibility, be sure to know your legal options up front. Oftentimes, schools may ask you to sign a waiver that relieves them from accountability if your child gets hurt during sports. Speak with your attorney to discuss whether you should sign it and whether the school can refuse to your child play if you do not sign it.
A personal injury attorney will also be able to discuss a school’s responsibility should your child get injured, including whether they are legally obligated to foot the bill to their own insurance company. And while it is not as common, fights between players can break out on the field. If your child is severely harmed, who should pay the medical bills? Should that be your responsibility? The school’s? Or the individual who caused harm? Speak with your personal injury attorney now to understand your legal rights involving sports-related injuries.