Data Provided by the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research (NCCSIR)

Summary: From July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2020, NCCSIR captured 131 catastrophic injury/illness events in California sports, 48 of which were fatal: an average of 8.7 catastrophic events per year and 3.2 deaths per year. In California high schools there were 92 catastrophic events and 34 were fatal.

Catastrophic injuries are defined as: fatalities, permanent disability injuries, serious injuries (fractured neck or serious head injury) even though the athlete has a full recovery, temporary or transient paralysis (athlete has no movement for a short time, but has a complete recovery), heat stroke due to exercise, or sudden cardiac arrest or sudden cardiac or severe cardiac disruption.

Of the 131 California state catastrophic injury/illness events:

    • 73 (55.7%) were traumatic injury-related, 48 (36.6%) were exertional or medical-related, and 10 (7.6%%) were not exertion-related.
      • Most catastrophic events were sudden cardiac arrest (47,35.9%) or brain injury related (38, 29%)
    • 48 (36.6%) were fatal, 29 (22%) resulted in permanent disability, 5 (3.8%) unknown recovery and 49 (37.4%) recovered
    • Majority of athletes were male (89%) and played football (59%) or basketball (10%)
    • Most occurred during Sep-Oct (37%) and in competitions (54%) or practice (27.5%)

      Catastrophic Injury Table

      Note: Events are captured through a variety of methods including: searches of publicly available news and media sources, reports from state high school associations and/or schools, and reports from individuals. There may be catastrophic events that NCCSIR has not captured. Starting in 2015 anyone can report a catastrophic sport injury at our website

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