Overuse injuries do not appear to be a major problem among young football players, according to a new study.
Researchers analyzed data on injuries among youth and high school football players across the United States during the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
Of the nearly 1,500 reported injuries among players ages 5 to 14, only 3.6 percent were overuse injuries. Of the more than 12,000 reported injuries among players aged 14 to 18, only 2.8 percent were overuse injuries.
High school football athletes had a higher risk, but not a higher rate, of overuse injury than youth football athletes, the study reported.
According to the study, overuse injuries are “a group of injuries classified by a gradual progression of inflammation, pain, or loss of function, or a combination of these.”
The study appears in the October issue of the Journal of Athletic Training.
“Overuse conditions may not present a primary concern in youth and high school football,” said researcher Janet Simon, an assistant professor at Ohio University’s School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness.
“However, differences existed between the two levels of competition. Although additional research on the incidence of overuse conditions across all youth and high school sports is needed, these findings highlight the need for programming that may be specific to competition level,” Simon said in a journal news release.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on children and sports safety.