EMSA Paramedics See Spike In Youth Football Injuries

Wednesday, September 2nd 2009, 9:47 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- EMSA paramedics say they're seeing a surprising spike in injuries in youth football leagues and they say many of those injuries could come back to haunt young players in the future.  If you play competitive sports as a kid, tweaks and strains and even broken bones come with the territory.  But, paramedics say through two weeks of kids football, they're seeing a lot of serious injuries.

In football, kids learn to tough it out after a tough tackle.  Most of them get up and walk away, but not everyone.  EMSA paramedics in the last two weeks have treated six young boys injured on the field.

"Ages range anywhere from eight years old all the way up to 18. Average age is usually about 13," said EMSA Paramedic Michael Garrison.

Four of those players had serious bone injuries and two had neck and head injuries.

"Anytime you have a concussion, you're more susceptible to have ones in the future. So, it is a little concerning if they have it at that age," said EMSA Paramedic Michael Garrison.

William Mosley knows the risks.  His son is a seventh grader, and he wouldn't let him play football before this year.

"I think this is the right time. I think when they're younger they're more prone to injuries. When they're this age, it's the right time to learn the fundamentals of the sport," said William Mosley.

For all of last year, EMSA treated 24 boys, injured while playing football.  Most of them were injuries in the neck and back, but they also treated broken bones and concussions.

"I think it's a combination. I think the kids are more aggressive, I think we're starting them out earlier, but we're also better diagnosing them now than we were several years ago," said Dr. Kevin Dukes, an orthopedic surgeon.

Dr. Dukes says all parents should take extra precaution because head trauma can have subtle signs.

"Maybe the child's inability to concentrate in class, they just don't remember well. It maybe not always be the obvious things we think about," said Dr. Kevin Dukes.

So, as youth football kicks off another year, parents need to stay vigilant.

More than two million kids suffer a sports concussion every year, but the exact number isn't known and Dr. Dukes says the injury is under diagnosed.

Kids can start playing tackle football in our area young as six years old.