Many sports like football and boxing can be especially dangerous due to their rough nature. Sudden, powerful impacts, especially in the head, can lead to lifelong consequences.
One obvious example of this is Muhammad Ali, the legendary boxer who made records and became a generational icon…but in 1984, Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s syndrome, a disease common to those who’ve sustained severe head trauma.
It was often difficult to hear Ali speak as his speech was often slurred and hard to understand. Of course, for those of us who grew up watching Ali, the diagnosis was especially heart wrenching.
Although fatalities in sports are very rare, they do occur sometimes. Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of sports-related fatalities. It’s estimated that 21% of all TBIs in children and adolescents can be attributed to sports and recreational activities.
Utilizing data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) compiled statistics on sports and TBI incidents in 2009…that year, nearly 450,000 sports-related head injuries were treated in emergency rooms across the U.S. This was an increase of nearly 100,000 from the prior year.
Sports that saw significant increases include water sports, cycling, baseball, softball and basketball.
Below are the sports/recreational activities that saw the highest incidence of brain injury:
- Cycling – 85,389
- Football – 46,948
- Baseball/Softball – 38,394
- Basketball – 34,692
- Water sports (i.e. skiing, diving, surfing, etc.) – 28,716
- Off-road vehicles (i.e. ATVs, Dune Buggies, four-wheelers) – 26,606
- Soccer – 24,184
- Skateboards/scooters – 23,114
- Gyms/health clubs – 18,012
- Winter sports (i.e. skiing, sledding, snowboarding, snowmobiling) – 16,948
- Horseback riding – 14,466
- Gymnastics – 10,223
The actual number of traumatic brain injuries, sadly, may be higher for 3 reasons:
- The CPSC didn’t include estimates for products with fewer than 1200 injuries
- Less severe injuries are treated by a family doctor, urgent care facility or at home. The data used in the AANS study was for ER treatment only.
- Sports/activities with too small of a sample or that are limited to a certain geographical area of the country were excluded
As you can see, traumatic brain injury is a common problem in many sports and recreational activities.
Does this mean you shouldn’t play sports or exercise?
Absolutely not…what it does mean is that you need to take necessary precautions to protect you and your child.
Of course, if the TBI came about from a defective product like a bicycle helmet, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. If you fall into this category, talk with a traumatic brain injury attorney in Knoxville today for a free consultation.