Football Tops List of Sports Injuries
As the kids head back to school they'll also head back to team sports. So brace yourselves, moms and dads, for the injuries that can come with that.

A new study sheds some light on which sports are more likely to produce severe injuries, derailing athletic participation for weeks.

Injury data on nine sports were collected during the academic year from 2005 through 2007 in 100 high schools nationwide by researchers from the Ohio State University College of Medicine and the Center for Injury Research and Policy in the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, both in Columbus. A severe injury was defined as one that resulted in losing three weeks or more of sports participation. During that time, 1,378 severe injuries were noted, comprising 14.9% of all high school sports-related injuries. Severe injury rates were higher in competitions than during practices.

Football was No. 1, with the highest injury rate -- 0.69 per 1,000 athletic events (with an "event" defined as one practice or competition). Second was wrestling, then girls' basketball and girls' soccer.

While the injury rate was higher in all boys' sports versus all girls' sports, when injuries in certain sports (soccer, basketball, baseball/softball) were directly compared, the results were different: Girls had a higher severe injury rate overall than boys, and girls' basketball ranked higher in injuries than boys' basketball.

The study also described which parts of the body took the most hits. Knees were on top, followed by the ankle and shoulder.

The most common diagnoses were fractures, complete ligament sprains and incomplete ligament sprains. Among all the severe injuries, 28.3% needed surgery.

The study appears in the September issue of the American Journal of Sports Medicine.

jeannine.stein@latimes.com