UPPER ALLEN TOWNSHIP, CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. - Thousands of high school student-athletes are injured every year. Yet, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, which runs Pennsylvania's high school sports, has no record of these injuries.
We can tell you the stats on a national level. Football accounts for the second highest number of injuries for high school student athletes, after basketball. A concussion is the leading high school sports injury. But, locally we have no data to show what injuries high school student athletes are sustaining. The PIAA no longer records every injury.
"We had an injury report system and we were getting everything from somebody sprained a finger to somebody had a head injury," said Melissa Mertz, PIAA Associate Executive Director. "I think what we would need to do is to narrow that focus, these are the serious injuries that we want reported to us."
The PIAA relies on information gathered by the National Federation of State High School Associations and its injury reporting system. They're the ones responsible for recommending most changes the PIAA makes to high school sports.
"That's where it helps the rules writing process," said Mertz. "And that we may need to look at different measures if we're having issues with high injuries in field hockey, softball, football."
Mertz says they only keep record of the times their catastrophic insurance plan is used, which kicks in once an athlete's family insurance is exhausted. She says it's happened than less five times in the last 10 years.