Is My Child at Risk?

Bicycle and Sports Injuries on the Rise Among 10-14 Year-olds in our Region

UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh reports that sports- and bicycle-related injuries are on the rise among children ages 10-14. Part of this surge is an overall increase in sports participation.

Additionally, as children gain independence during this stage they take greater risks, often unknowingly, while at the same time parents often reduce their oversight.

National and regional injury statistics speak to the significance of this issue.

Sources: Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, SAFE Kids Campaign, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Risk Greatest During Informal Sports Activities

One in three children who participates in organized sports has been injured; however, most of the 3.5 million sports injuries among children age 14 and under each year occur during informal sports activities. This is likely because the safety gear and injury prevention measures in place during organized activities are absent in informal settings.Number of CHP Hospital admissions chart based on ages of children participating in informal sports

  • Most of these injuries result from falls, collisions, overexertion or being struck by an object.
  • While contact sports like football are associated with higher injury rates, injuries from recreational activities and individual sports are more likely to be severe when they occur.
  • Sports injuries account for approximately 55 percent of nonfatal injuries at school.

Sports Participation Means More Sports Injuries

As sports participation grows, so have sports and recreation injuries.

  • Half of boys and 25 percent of girls between the ages of eight and 16 compete in an organized sports program.
  • Three-fourths of junior high schools and middle schools have competitive interscholastic sports programs.
  • Beyond organized sports programs, millions more kids compete and participate in physical education classes, church and community intramural programs, and other recreational athletic activities.

Young Bicyclists Drop Helmets

In the Pittsburgh region bicycle injuries occur most among children ages 9-14. The vast majority of these injuries occur among children not wearing a helmet.Chart showing difference in injuries between helmeted and unhelmeted bicyclists

  • Head injuries cause 75 percent of the more than 800 annual deaths from bicycle crashes.
  • Helmets are required by law for children under 12 in Pennsylvania.

View the MRSA Q&A Brochure (PDF)