March 8, 2015

23 Cheer-Inducing Youth Sports Statistics

Read more about Kids and Money

How many kids play sports? Read on for 23 cheer-inducing youth sports statistics.

© USAG- Humphreys (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

From Pee Wee football to Little League, there are plenty of sports that children can get involved in at an early age. Participating in an organized sport in elementary, middle or high school can be a great way for kids to make friends, get in shape and develop valuable skills that will continue to serve them once they've made the transition into adulthood.

While some kids play just for the fun of it, others have big dreams of turning their athletic talent into a professional career. Parents, meanwhile, are forking over big bucks to keep their kids active in the game of their choice. To get a feel for just how sports-crazy kids are, CreditDonkey culled the Internet to find the most interesting and insightful statistics on their playing habits.

WHO PLAYS YOUTH SPORTS?

To kick off our study, we rounded up some hard numbers on just how many kids in the U.S. play an organized sport, how wide the participation gap is between boys and girls, and which kids are least likely to have an athletic bent.

1. How many kids aged 6 to 17 play an organized sport?
Nationwide, it's estimated that as many as 28 million kids between the ages of 6 and 17 participate in organized athletics. Roughly 75% of American households have at least one child who plays a sport.

2. When do most kids start playing?
While some kids come to sports later in life, others start perfecting their skills in the kindergarten years. Some 60% of boys and 47% of girls already play a team sport by age 6.

3. How many boys play organized sports?
Boys tend to have higher participation rates than girls, with about 16.5 million of them aged 6 to 17 playing an organized sport at least once a year.

4. How many youth athletes are girls?
Only about 10.6 million girls between ages 6 and 17 say they play sports, which makes their overall participation rate about 3% lower than boys.

5. Who's most likely to play multiple sports?
Economic and demographic factors can have a big impact on whether or not a child plays more than one sport. Boys in the third to fifth grade age range and who live in suburban areas represent 51% of youth athletes who are on three teams or more.

6. Which ones are least likely?
On the flip side, girls in third, fourth or fifth grade have the lowest multiple sport participation rate, at just 11%.

YOUTH SPORTS AND INJURIES

Athletic injuries, which can occur at any age, can be particularly dangerous for kids whose bodies are still developing. For the next phase of our study, we concentrated on how often kids get hurt while playing organized sports and the types of injuries that occur.

7. How many kids suffer sports-related injuries each year?
In 2013, more than 1.2 million kids ended up in the emergency room because of a sports-related injury. That breaks down to approximately 1 child every 25 seconds who gets hurt while playing.

8. Which age group is injured most often?
Older kids are the most susceptible, with youth aged 13 to 15 accounting for 37% of all athletic injuries. Kids aged 10 and under are the least likely to get hurt on the playing field.

9. What are the most common injuries reported?
Nearly 50% of kids who play an organized sport say they've suffered a cut, scrape or bruise at some point, but a substantial number also report more serious injuries. For example, 37% say they've experienced a strain or sprain.

10. How often do concussions occur?
Sports-related head injuries are a serious concern and around 12% of youth athletes say they've suffered a concussion at some point. Nearly 50% of kids aged 12 to 15 have gotten a concussion while playing sports.

11. How many youth athletes have played injured?
Pressure to perform keeps many kids in the game even when they're not feeling 100% physically. Around 54% of youth athletes say they've played while hurt and 42% said they deliberately hid their injury so they could keep playing.

12. Which sport results in the most injuries?
Football injuries are the most common, with more than 394,000 incidents reported in 2012. Basketball is a close second, with almost 390,000 injuries, but it's actually hockey that accounts for 31% of all youth concussions.

13. What body parts are most often injured?
Fifteen percent of all youth sports injuries affect the ankles while 14% are head-related. The fingers, knees and face are also likely targets for an injury.

14. How many sports-related injuries result in death?
Although it's a relatively rare occurrence, death resulting from a sports related injury is a real possibility. A total of 120 youth athletes died from an injury between 2008 and 2009. There were 50 sports-related deaths in 2010 and 40 in 2011.

PARTICIPATION AND COST

© USAG- Humphreys (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Taking part in an organized sport typically doesn't come cheap, and the cost can be significant for some parents. We ran the numbers on which sports tend to be the most popular and how much families are shelling out to keep their kids involved.

15. Which sport is preferred by boys?
Basketball and football are overwhelmingly the top choice for boys who play organized sports. Approximately 40% of boys play either one of these sports or both.

16. In which sport do girls participate the most?
Among girls, basketball is also the favorite pick, with 25% preferring it to other organized sports. Volleyball finishes a close second, with 23% of girls signed up.

17. How much do parents spend on youth sports each year?
Between equipment costs, registration fees and travel costs, it's estimated that parents shell out a stunning $7 billion on youth sports annually. The average cost comes out to $671 per child, with more than 20% of parents spending $1,000 or more each year per kid.

18. Which one is the most expensive?
Hockey is by far the priciest sport for kids to play, with the final cost running as high as $9,000 per child. That's at the recreational, just-for-fun level. When kids join competitive hockey teams, the cost can skyrocket to as much as $50,000.

19. How does cost influence participation rates?
Only 30% of families making less than $60,000 a year have a child who participates in an organized sport, compared to 51% of families who make more than that amount. Among parents whose kids didn't participate in any sport at all, 1 in 7 cited cost as the reason.

POSITIVE ASPECTS OF PLAYING SPORTS

Numerous studies have been done on how playing a sport during the childhood or teen years influences everything from behavior and academics to outcomes later in life. For the last part of our study, we've included some of the most significant research findings.

20. Does playing youth sports influence teen pregnancy rates?
Playing sports can have a positive impact on risky behaviors, especially among girls. One study found that female athletes are up to 50% less likely to get pregnant during their teen years than their non-participating classmates.

21. Can sports improve academic performance?
Participating in youth sports can help to bolster grades. Research shows that youth athletes have GPAs that are 23% higher than non-athletes.

22. How does playing sports affect graduation rates?
Playing sports can also up the odds of earning a high school diploma. In one study, 98% of high school athletes made it to graduation day, compared to 90% of non-athletes.

23. What percentage of youth athletes eventually go pro?
Excelling at sports in high school doesn't guarantee that it'll turn into a professional career. Among high school basketball players, the probability of turning pro is just 0.03% for both boys and girls. Baseball players seem to have the best odds overall, at 0.5%.

FINAL WORD

Overall, the information we found paints a pretty uplifting picture of youth sports. Keeping kids and parents involved sometimes means overcoming certain financial obstacles, but the benefits can easily outweigh the cost in the end.

Sources and References:

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