The start of the new school year is just weeks away. Parents around Western New York are discussing what activities their children should take part in, especially at the high school level. When it comes to athletics, it’s important to look at the risk of injury.

Survey after survey shows that the most dangerous sports for boys are football, basketball, and soccer. Football players suffer nearly twice as many injuries as those who play basketball. More disturbingly, up to 67,000 injuries involving football players are concussions [and that number is probably much higher, because many players never report suffering concussions].

For girls, the most dangerous sports are soccer, volleyball, and basketball. But another athletics related activity may be more dangerous. That activity is cheerleading. The Los Angeles Times reports that, over the last quarter-century or so, disabilities caused by head or spine injuries related to cheerleading are almost twice as high as all other injuries in girls’ sports, including 73 so-called "catastrophic injuries” and two deaths.

What to do? As always, knowledge is power. Ask other parents in the school your children are in about injuries. Talk to coaches who will work with your children. And, if your child seems to be in an unsafe situation, don’t hesitate to take them out of that sport.