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Youth sports injury prevention: keep calm and play on
  1. Cynthia R LaBella1,2,
  2. Gregory D Myer3,4,5
  1. 1 Department of Pediatrics, Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  2. 2 Division of Pediatric Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  3. 3 Departments of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
  4. 4 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
  5. 5 Division of Sports Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Cynthia LaBella, Department of Pediatrics, Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, 225 East Chicago Ave, Box 69, Chicago, IL 60611, USA; clabella{at}

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In recent years, there has been extensive media focus on youth sports injuries, especially concussions. While youth sports training and competition are more intense than ever, the focus on the ‘injury risk’ downside of youth sport is unfortunate because the benefits of sports participation (improvements in overall health1 and bone density;2 lower rates of overweight/obesity,3 cardiovascular disease,3 diabetes,3 risk-taking behaviours,4 depression4 and teen pregnancy;5 and enhanced self-esteem4 and peer socialisation4) far outweigh the risks for children and teens. In fact, the injury risk for youth aged 6–12 years in organised sports, even in contact/collision sports such as American football, is well below the risk of injury in typical recreational activities such as riding a bicycle or playing on a playground. Additionally, the recent focus on improving safety in organised youth sports has led to rule changes that have reduced specific acute injuries (eg, breakaway bases in baseball/softball, securing movable goalposts in soccer, limiting contact/collision drills and teaching safer tackling techniques in …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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