In the midst of a lively football season, new research comparing injuries among football players may come as a surprise - - college football players experience more injuries, but injuries to high school kids are more severe. The question is why.
David is 10 years old. Brandon is 7. Both have a broken right arm - -both were playing football when it happened.
According to new research in the American Journal of sports medicine, compared to college players, high school football players suffer fewer but more severe injuries partly because they're so young.
Dr. Thomas Byars, with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, said, "College athletes are skeletally mature, so they're less likely to sustain fractures. So it may seem that they're more catastrophic or severe- and they are, because they're fractures, and we take them more seriously."
More seriously, he says, because of where the fracture occurs. "The majority of the season ending injuries, which they consider the most severe- 50% of those were fractures and those fractures in these kids most likely are injuries or fractures to their growth plates."
That's the problem - - growth plates at the end of a bone allow the bone to grow. With a fracture, bone growth can be stunted. Still, the Doctor says, it doesn't happen very often. "The majority of these injuries are not catastrophic in the sense that they are- prohibit them from playing sports ever again. In the particular numbers they had in high school athletes, I believe they had 1800 injuries that were reported, only 2 of which were career ending."
Brandon tried to smile - - but with an IV in one arm, a cast on the other - - his season is over and he's only 7 years old. Still, like David, he will heal in a matter of weeks and he's lucky.
Dr. Kathleen Nelson, with Emergency Pediatrics, said, "Where the bone was broken was in a nice clean spot, not thru a growth plate. He should have good healing and good function."