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The 5 most dangerous sports for girls

Girls' sports are on the rise. But as more of them step into a saddle, lace up skates, or put on a jersey, sports-related injuries are spiraling out of control.

By Lauren Shanley

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How dangerous is your child's sport?

Every year, more than 135,000 children and teens nationwide find themselves in emergency rooms due to sports-related accidents. The most common diagnosis? Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which are caused by bumps, blows, or jolts to the head — all of which can disrupt the normal function of the brain.

According to Safe Kids USA, of the 3.5 million children treated for sports injuries in 2009, and over 40 percent of TBIs in children were sports-induced. While TBIs can range from mild to severe, all should be taken seriously. The majority of TBIs are concussions, which is when the brain moves inside the skull and can even bang against the skull bone. Such intensive cerebral trauma can cause some brain cells to excrete neurotransmitters, in effect flooding the brain with chemicals that inhibit learning and memory, resulting in confusion, blurred vision, and memory loss.

The following five team sports are the most dangerous. While team sports provide a wealth of emotional, social, and physical benefits for kids, it's important to provide your young athlete with the proper protective gear and to teach your child to follow game regulations to avoid brain trauma and other serious injuries.

 Photo credit: mistahTee

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

07/9/2012:
"I think any sport is dangerous if not properly taught and have the correct gear. If you teach your daughter that it is to dangerous she will never want to play any sport. Sports are a great activity. Need it be volleyball, skating, horseback riding, water rafting, rock climbing, etc. Go outdoors and get active. Join a sport that your daughter and you both like or your daughter and her friends like. make sure they are supervised by an adult you trust. Then let them go PLAY. "
07/2/2012:
"Flawed Study.Need I say more..."The probability of an athlete sustaining 3 or more injuries was also calculated by dividing the number of athletes who sustained 3 or more injuries by the number of athletes who sustained 2 injuries." What this actually calculates is the risk of someone who had been injured twice, being injured again. You should READ papers before you quote them. "
05/15/2012:
"please name a sport that is safe for my 9 year old dauter please reply thank you "
01/12/2012:
"My 13yr old son chooses to not complete homework assignments, in turn receives an F grade which then brings his A to a C or B. I am tired of the pulling and tugging on this what I think is very careless of him. So I have decided that he will not be able to try out for his middle school basketball team and nor join an AAU Travel Basketball Team. He choose not to do homework knowing he would not play basketball (that he claims he loves) at all. What do you think??????? "
01/9/2012:
"Kids need to be encouraged to play sports for many reasons. There is always a risk-reward in most everything we have our kids do. The point about having kids use the proper equipment for practice is a very good one. I coached girls soccer and once the kids got to be about 12 or so, some of them would not dress right or neglect to bring their chin guards. When my older girls were young I wanted to get them into a sports that would feature both team play and running. I chose soccer and never regretted it. Team sports get a lot more dangerous in my opinion as the kids get older. Consider the venue as well--indoor soccer is more like hockey, so you can expect more collisions than the outdoor game. As the kids get older, sports like track and cross country are available--lots of exercise without the contact, but still team experiences and social interaction. Unfortunately girls sports get rougher and rougher--they are encouraged to play just like the boys and the rules allow it, which frankly is a mistake. Girls soccer is at its best when it is a finesse and speed sport,not one that features brute strength. I suspect the same is true for basketball and other sports. Good sportsmanship helps as well --something we promote at sportingchancepress.com. Kids who cannot play with sportsmanship should not be allowed to play. I've seen frustrated defensive players purposely try to injure other girls who they just couldn't catch. I've seen one girl kick a girl who was on down on the ground when the refs back was turned. "
07/5/2011:
"Thanks for your comment. In our research, we were surprised to find that some sports (ice hockey, for example), didn't make the top 5. The sports ranked here are the most dangerous in part because they also have the most participants nationwide, which is likely one factor keeping rock climbing off the list. For an interesting list of the most dangerous extreme sports, most of which are less likely to be offered to children, especially as school sports, check out Forbes' list: http://www.forbes.com/2002/08/07/0807sport.html "
07/5/2011:
"Where does outdoor rockclimbing place? "
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