Study Finds Football, Basketball, Soccer and Volleyball Account for Highest Number of Injuries; Gymnastics and Lacrosse Require More Visits and Longer Duration of Care When Injured

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

DALLAS, TX – New research found that in an analysis of more than 26,000 injuries across high school and college that the sports with the most injuries were male football (25.6%), female basketball (8.5%), female soccer (8.1%), male basketball (7.1%) and female volleyball (6.5%). However, even though gymnastics and lacrosse accounted for fewer injuries, those injuries were typically associated with a greater number of visits and a longer duration of care.

The abstract for this research was presented at the 2021 NATA Virtual Clinical Symposia & AT Expo, which is being held virtually this year due to COVID-19. It is also published in the Journal of Athletic Training, the scientific journal of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association.

“Although injury incidence and risk are primary factors in assessing medical staffing needs, other clinical practice components, such as treatment characteristics, may further inform these important patient care decisions,” said research lead author and professor of clinical research at A.T. Still University, Kenneth C. Lam, ScD, ATC. “For example, sports associated with fewer injuries but higher amount and duration of care, such as in gymnastics or lacrosse, may result in similar or even higher demand on the clinician than sports with more injuries but lower amount and duration of care.  Our findings suggest that sport-specific treatment patterns should be considered when determining appropriate medical staffing needs.”

Additional Data

  • Across all injuries, patients received a median of five visits, however, male gymnastics received 19 visits, female gymnastics received seven visits and male lacrosse received 7 visits
  • Median male gymnastics duration of care was 66 days, female gymnastics was 16 days and male lacross is 16 days.
  • The top five diagnoses documented were concussion (12.2%), ankle sprain/strain (10.8%), hip and groin sprain/strain (7.4%), distal thigh sprain/strain (3.6%), and knee pain (3.2%)

The research described injury and treatment characteristics of sport-specific injuries reported within the Athletic Training Practice-Based Research Network (AT-PBRN) from 2013 to 2020. A total of 26,162 sport-related injuries and 162,025 services were recorded and evaluated. The patients records were created by 368 athletic trainers practicing in 317 athletic training clinics (252 high schools, 40 colleges, 25 other) across 34 states.

About NATA: National Athletic Trainers’ Association – Health Care for Life & Sport

Athletic trainers are health care professionals who specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and sport-related illnesses. They prevent and treat chronic musculoskeletal injuries from sports, physical and occupational activity, and provide immediate care for acute injuries. Athletic trainers offer a continuum of care that is unparalleled in health care. The National Athletic Trainers' Association represents and supports more than 40,000 members of the athletic training profession. Visit for more information.