Sports Activities Are Dangerous to Youths

I recently came upon an interesting page on the Centers for Disease Control website detailing the average numbers of sports related injuries which result in visits to the emergency room. If our leaders insist that we must punish people for using the wrong intoxicants based in part on the number who visit the emergency room, it seems only fair that we put the numbers in some perspective.

The data relating to sports injuries is tabulated for those persons aged 5 to 24 years old, while that provided for drug related ED visits is for those aged 6 to 25. The information is tabulated slightly differently, but the differing age base is really not significant.

The original source material on the CDC site tabulates the average number of sports injuries that resulted in emergency room visits for the years 1997 & 1998. The numbers for drug-related ED visits reflected here includes only those aged 6 to 25.

Average Number of ED Visits for Selected Causes 1997 & 1998
Visit Category Avg Number of Visits Annually Percent of Total ED Visits
All Ages All Visits 89,701,500 100
All Injury Numbers Below Are for 5-24 Demographic
All Injury Visits 11,904,000 13.27
All Sport-Related 2,616,000 2.92
Basketball 447,000 0.5
Pedal Cycling 421,000 0.47
Football 271,000 0.3
Baseball/Softball 245,000 0.27
Ice- or Roller- Skating/Boarding 150,000 0.17
Gymnastics/Cheerleading 146,000 0.16
Playground Accidents 137,000 0.15
Snow Sports 111,000 0.12
Water Sports 100,000 0.11
Soccer 95,000 0.106
Exercising/Track 94,000 0.105
Alcohol in Combination 1 37,000 0.041
Marijuana 2 33,000 0.037

Sources: National Ambulatory Health Care Survey
Drug Abuse Warning Network


1 Numbers are for alcohol in combination with any other drug. DAWN data does not include statistics for alcohol alone.

2 An average 80 percent of marijuana related visits involve another drug, and approximately 85 percent of all marijuana mentions in the ED involve those 18 years old and over.

Of the people who actually use marijuana, less than one-half of one percent of them "mention" it in the emergency room, and the total number of such visits account for a mere one-tenth of one percent of all hospital emergency room vists. So, what is the problem?

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