Study highlights youth sports injuries in Grand ForksThe study, conducted by UND master’s student Tom Schuch, his advisor, Dr. Dennis Caine and Carma Hanson of Safe Kids Grand Forks, examined results from the last 10 years with a focus on injuries reported to the Altru Hospital emergency room.
By: Brad Elliott Schlossman, Grand Forks Herald
The most common injuries sustained by male athletes in Grand Forks over the last 10 years were to the head or neck area, says a study released this week.
The study, conducted by UND master’s student Tom Schuch, his advisor, Dr. Dennis Caine and Carma Hanson of Safe Kids Grand Forks, examined results from the last 10 years with a focus on injuries reported to the Altru Hospital emergency room.
The study says 74.2 percent of injuries were sustained by males and the head and neck injuries occurred the most.
“We felt like it was important to see how injuries have changed over the years and if younger kids are being impacted since they are starting contact sports at earlier ages,” Hanson said. “As we plan and implement our safety initiatives, it is helpful to understand the issues affecting the children and youth in the region that we serve so as to be effective in our messaging and injury prevention strategies.”
Long-term effects of head injuries have been greatly publicized after Boston University research showed that former NHL tough guy Bob Probert had a degenerative brain disease at the time of his death.
A different study released Wednesday by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health stated that former NFL players were unusually prone to dying from degenerative brain disease such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
East Grand Forks Athletic Director Jim Scanlan said coaches in the area are trained with how to deal with possible concussions.
“It is something we continually talk about in preseason meetings with coaches,” Scanlan said. “We’re constantly bringing up being vigilant about that stuff. We did start the Impact program last year. We use that for all our athletes involved in physical sports. We’re trying to test every one of them before the season starts.”
If a player is injured, he or she can take the Impact test. Compared with a baseline test, it can reveal whether a player is concussed.
A total of 203 concussions were treated in Grand Forks with 79.8 percent affecting youth ages 10 to 19. Concussions were most commonly associated with football (24.6 percent), hockey (21.7 percent) and bicycling (21.7 percent).
“In spite of a 1976 rule change outlawing the head as first point of contact in football, many players continue to use their head/helmet to tackle or block,” the study says. “There continues to be a pressing need for coaches and parents to educate young players on proper techniques for blocking and tackling. The National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury research emphasizes that football players need to keep their head out of blocking and tackling.”
The study also points to bicycling without a helmet as a major cause for concussions in Grand Forks.
There are a number of other notable points in the study. Consider:
• The vast majority of the 2,855 injuries treated at the emergency room resulted in same day treat-and-release care (99.7 percent). There were no sport-related fatalities.
• The peak frequency of injuries occurred at ages 11 to 13 for girls and 13 to 15 for boys — around the time of the adolescent growth spurt.
• The most common injury sustained by females was to the forearm.
• September had the highest percentage of injuries of any month (18 percent).
• Soft-tissue injuries were the most common, closely followed by fractures.
• Two-thirds of all injuries were associated with falls. Bicycle-related injuries were the most common (20.5 percent), followed by football (19.7) and hockey (16.2).
“Safe Kids Grand Forks works with a large network of agencies, businesses and individuals that connect with children and youth,” Hanson said. “The information gained from this study will be shared with parents, athletes, coaches and others involved in the sports arena so as to implement strategies that will keep our young athletes safe, injury free and in the game.”
Call Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1129; or send e-mail to email@example.com.