As high school sports participation continues to increase in the United States, the number of
sports injuries will also likely increase unless effective injury prevention programs are
implemented. The NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) and the NFHS Sport
Rules Committees use information from the National High School Sports-Related Injury
Surveillance Study (High School RIO™) to monitor rates and patterns of sports injuries among
high school athletes. High School RIO ™ is currently collecting the 9th year of sports exposure
and injury data.
High School RIO™ data shows that boys’ and girls’ swimming and diving continue to have the
lowest injury rate of all 20 sports studied, with girls’ injury rates slightly higher than boys’. In
2012/13, muscle strains were the most common injury type in both boys’ (29.0%) and girls’
(28.6%) swimming and diving. The majority of muscle strains occurred to the shoulder (38.4%)
or thigh/upper leg (15.4%). Diving accounted for 9.4% of girls’ injuries and 8.7% of boys’
injuries. Many swimming and diving injuries are relatively minor, with 50.0% of athletes
returning to the pool in less than one week after sustaining an injury. An understanding of such
patterns of injury is one important tool that can be used when considering risk minimization
efforts such as rule changes or educational programs aimed at keeping swimming and diving
athletes as safe as possible.
If you are interested in more information on the High School RIO ™ Study or a certified athletic
trainer interested in becoming a reporter for swimming and diving, please visit
ects/RIO/Pages/Study-Reports.aspx for summary reports.
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