According to new research, one good way for teen athletes to avoid getting injured is to ensure they get plenty of sleep.

In a study presented at a conference for pediatricians, researchers reported that adolescent athletes who slept eight or more hours every night were 68 percent less likely to be injured than those who slept less.

Researchers from Children's Hospital Los Angeles enlisted 112 students athletes (54 were male, 58 were female) to complete a survey about their sleep and activity levels. Findings showed that hours of sleep per night were "significantly associated" with a decreased likelihood of injury, according to the study results.

In addition, the higher the grade level of the athlete (the study looked at students in grades 7 to 12, or ages 12-18), the greater the likelihood of injury -- 2.3 times greater for each additional grade in school. Interestingly, the researchers didn't find any significant association between injury and gender, hours of training, private coaching, or strength training.

"When we started this study, we thought the amount of sports played, year-round play, and increased specialization in sports would be much more important for injury risk," said study author Dr. Matthew Milewski. Instead, "what we found is that the two most important [FACTORS] were hours of sleep and grade in school."

Source: New York Daily News
http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-10-22/news/34660165_1_sports-injuries-study-results-researchers