Youth football injuries

Sports Med. 2004;34(3):201-7. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200434030-00005.


A paucity of literature exists on the subject of youth football with the majority of research concentrating on athletes of high-school age or older. Youth football participants include those athletes who compete in organised football prior to high school. Injury rate and severity for youth players is surprisingly low when compared with those competitors who have passed through puberty. As children mature they become bigger, faster and stronger, which is accompanied by an increased injury risk. Quarterbacks and running backs are injured almost five times more often than offensive linemen and linebackers. The knee is the most common site of injury followed by the ankle, wrist and hand. Fortunately, traumatic brain and cervical spine injuries are exceedingly rare. In this article, we review the youth football literature, identify the most common injuries by anatomical location, discuss the differential diagnoses and outline treatment options.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Arm Injuries / diagnosis
  • Arm Injuries / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries / classification
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Football / injuries*
  • Hand Injuries / diagnosis
  • Hand Injuries / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Leg Injuries / diagnosis
  • Leg Injuries / epidemiology
  • Neck Injuries / diagnosis
  • Neck Injuries / epidemiology
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Wrist Injuries / diagnosis
  • Wrist Injuries / epidemiology