The biggest drop in injury rate was for bicycling, which saw a more than 29 percent decrease between 2000 and 2005 and a 38 percent decrease overall. During this decade, the sport went from the most dangerous to the second most dangerous.
There were also drops in roller-sport and trampoline injuries of nearly 21 percent and 17.5 percent, respectively, between 2000 and 2010, and to a lesser extent, fewer injuries related to basketball.
Football injury rates, however, shot up by nearly 23 percent between 2000 and 2010, and soccer injuries rose by almost 11 percent.
Muscle and skeletal injuries, such as fractures, sprains and bruises from football and soccer rose by about 24 percent and 9 percent, respectively. Rates of these injuries declined for the other sports, except for baseball and softball, which saw a 2.5 percent increase.
Football and soccer injuries also increased to a larger extent for children between 10 and 14 years old compared to children between 5 and 9 years old.
These trends "may reflect the changing pattern of exposure in kids," Parikh said. "There may be a decrease in bicycling and an increase in football [injuries] as kids are doing more organized sports than free play."
The push could be coming from parents, coaches and schools alike, Parikh said. He added, however, that "free play is equally important and we should not be pushing them into organized sports because they can be more competitive."
Dr. Corinna Franklin, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Shriner's Hospital for Children in Boston, agreed.
"Overuse and overtraining are also major concerns," Franklin said. "As children become good at competitive sports, there is sometimes an impulse to keep them in the same sport year round, which may not be the healthiest thing for a young athlete."
Parikh added that kids also aren't stretching, warming up or cooling dow
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