“When you have two human beings collide at a high rate of speed — especially if one of them is much bigger than the other — then significant injuries are quite possible,” Tonino said. “I don’t believe it is worth the risk. So I advise parents to try to steer their children to alternative sports. We are just beginning to understand the long-term consequences of injuries sustained at young ages.”
The most common football injuries are knee injuries, especially to the anterior or posterior cruciate ligament (ACL/PCL). Other common injuries are ankle sprains, shoulder injuries and overuse injuries that cause back pain and patellar tendonitis (knee pain). Heat stroke is a significant risk during summer training camp.
A study published in the ournal Pediatricsfound that injury rates were similar in football and baseball. But while only 3 percent of baseball injuries were considered serious (fracture, dislocation, concussion), 14 percent of football injuries were considered serious.
But concussions are Tonino’s biggest concern. Tonino notes that a position statement from the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine says the developing brain differs physiologically from the adult brain. Young athletes may have a more prolonged recovery and are more susceptible to concussions accompanied by a catastrophic injury.