Sports accidents

SLPC 26038 7/14 (exp. 7/16)

Wow—high school sports participation in the U.S. is on the rise
Whoops—we’re seeing a lot of sports injuries!

High school sports participation has grown nationally since 1989 with over 7.7 million kids participating in sports for the 2012–2013 school year.1

This is good news, but it comes at a cost. Annual emergency room visit expenses are projected to hit $935 million nationally for youth sports in 2014.2 And a household has a 50% chance of an emergency room injury within three years if family members play a total of seven team sports each year.3

A Sun Life research study projects that New England athletes will visit the emergency room 142,000 times this year due to sports injuries, with nearly half being age 22 or younger.4 But that won’t likely stop these athletes!

Playing sports in New England—accidents can happen!

Download our New England Sports accidents infographic now

Basketball is projected to send the most New Englanders of seven team sports to the emergency room this year, at an average per player medical cost of $3,764.5 Soccer is second in emergency room injuries and football is third.5

Despite relatively modest participation, football has the highest injury rate (8.5%) of the seven team sports analyzed in the study.6 Two popular New England winter sports have the costliest average ER visits—downhill skiing ($6,962), followed by ice hockey ($4,562).5

Which sports are the most popular in each New England state?7

Massachusetts

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Extra innings!
Relative to state population size, Massachusetts residents participate at twice the national average in baseball, along with in-line roller skating, skateboarding, and downhill skiing.

Connecticut

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Hit the slopes!
Relative to state population size, Connecticut residents participate in downhill skiing at five times the national average and in softball at over twice the national average.

Rhode Island

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Slam dunk!
Relative to state population size, Rhode Island residents participate in basketball, along with baseball and volleyball at twice the national average rate.

Maine

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Play ball!
Relative to state population size, Maine residents play softball at nearly three times the U.S. average rate, and participate in downhill skiing at twice the U.S. rate.

  1. National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA), Sports Participation State-by-State, 2013, for year-2012, age seven and up; and National Federation of State High School Associations.
  2. Sun Life Financial, Sports Participation and Injuries by Region, 2014. For athletes ages 65 and under. Represents total medical charges paid by medical insurance, the athlete, or by the athlete’s parent or guardian. Based on Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) data on: (a) ages 65 and under emergency department and hospital admissions (2012); and (b) 2008 medical costs, adjusted to 2012 based on medical cost inflation data from Economic Report of the President, 2013. Note: Health insurance may cover some or all accident medical costs, though in many cases, the insured must first pay a deductible.
  3. Sun Life Financial, Sports Participation and Injuries by Region, 2014. Each injury rate per year was extrapolated over multiple years and multiple sports, assuming each year and sport was independent of all others. For example, it was not assumed that either (a) having an injury in a sport, or (b) not having an injury over a period of time, created a greater (or lesser) chance of future injury. Projections estimate the risk of at least one injury occurring, and does not assess the risk of experiencing more than one injury. The seven team sports are football, baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, ice hockey, and soccer.
  4. Sun Life Financial, Sports Participation and Injuries by Region, 2014. Correlates NSGA participation data to Safe Kids World Wide injury rates. Based on: (a) NSGA report, “Sports Participation, State-by-State, Year-2012” (ages 7 and older); and (b) Safe Kids Worldwide, analysis of Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), ages 12–17 2011 injury rates, based on emergency room visits per 100 athletes.  The National Sporting Goods Association estimates that 50% of the projected emergency room sports injuries are experienced by youth age 22 and under compared to all athletes age 7 and older was estimated based on the proportion of participation by youth under age 18 versus under age 25: On a weighted average basis, the proportion of participants under age 18 in baseball, basketball, soccer, softball, and volleyball comprised 42% of all participation in 2012, according to the National Sporting Goods Association. The proportion of participants under age 25 comprised 57% of all participation.
  5. Sun Life Financial, Sports Participation and Injuries by Region, 2014. For athletes ages 65 and younger. Represents total medical charges paid by medical insurance, the athlete, or by the athlete’s parent or guardian. Based on Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) data on: (a) ages 65 and younger emergency department and hospital admissions (2012), (b) 2008 medical costs, adjusted to 2012 based on medical cost inflation data from Economic Report of the President, 2013. Note: Health insurance may cover some or all accident medical costs, though in many cases, the insured must first pay a deductible. Also see footnote 4.
  6. Safe Kids Worldwide, “Game Changers.” Analysis of Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), ages 12–17 2011 injury rates, based on emergency room visits per 100 athletes. Sun Life assumed that injury rates by sport were consistent in each U.S. state.
  7. All of the state statistics come from the National Sporting Goods Association for year-2012, age seven and up. A sports participation score of “200” represents a participation rate of twice the national average, adjusted for population size. Massachusetts sports participation levels, with scores at roughly twice the national average, were in-line roller skating (250), baseball (194), skateboarding (199), and downhill skiing (219). Connecticut residents scored 514 for downhill skiing participation and 244 for softball participation. Rhode Islanders scored 208 for baseball, 234 for basketball, and 198 for volleyball. Mainers scored 197 for downhill skiing and 281 for softball.