Faculty Publications

Time-Loss And Non-Time-Loss Injuries In Youth Football Players

Document Type



Epidemiology, Injury incidence, Youth sports

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Athletic Training





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Context: Estimates suggest that more than 5.5 million youths play football annually, and 28% of youth football players (age range = 5 to 14 years) are injured each year, resulting in more than 187 000 emergency room visits. Objective: To analyze time-loss (TL) and non-time-loss (NTL) injury patterns across age groups in youth football players. Design: Two-year observational cohort. Setting: Two midwestern communities, including players from the fourth through eighth grades and between the ages of 9 and 14 years. Patients or Other Participants: A total of 779 players participated, including 296 in grades 4 and 5; 203 in grade 6; 188 in grade 7; and 92 in grade 8. (Players in the fourth and fifth grades participated on the same teams, so we considered them as a single group.) Main Outcome Measure(s): Injury frequencies and exposures were collected by certified athletic trainers present at each practice and game and used to calculate injury rates with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for both TL and NTL injuries across age groups. Results: A total of 474 injuries and 26 565 exposures were identified. Injuries were reported by 36.5% of the players, with 14.4% reporting more than 1 injury in a season. The overall injury rate per 1000 athlete-exposures (A-Es) was 17.8 (95% CI = 16.3, 19.5). The injury rate increased with each succeeding grade from 14.3 per 1000 A-Es (95% CI = 12.1, 16.9) in grades 4 and 5 to 21.7 per 1000 A-Es (95% CI = 17.2, 27.3) in grade 8. A total of 58.6% of all injuries were NTL. Non-time loss injuries accounted for 70.1% of the injuries reported by fourth and fifth graders, 55.1% by sixth graders, 64.0% by seventh graders, and 33.8% by eighth graders. The cumulative NTL injury rate was 10.5 per 1000 A-Es (95% CI = 9.3, 11.8), and the TL injury rate was 7.4 per 1000 A-Es (95% CI = 6.4, 8.5). Conclusions: Youth football players sustained more NTL injuries than TL injuries. We recommend that a first-aid-certified coach or league official be present at all games and practices. © by the National Athletic Trainers' Association, Inc.


School of Health, Physical Education and Leisure Services

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