Researchers at the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, analyzed data from the 2005 to 2007 National High School Sport-Related Injury Surveillance Study for boys' football, soccer, basketball, wrestling and baseball and girls' soccer, volleyball, basketball and softball.
Study co-Author Christy Collins said that overall, 6.4 percent of all high school sports-related injuries were related to illegal activity.
The study, published in Injury Prevention, found boys' and girls' soccer had the highest rates of injuries related to illegal activity and girls' volleyball, girls' softball and boys' baseball had the lowest. Thirty-two percent of injuries related to illegal activity were to the head and/or face and 25 percent were concussions, the study said.
By definition, activities ruled illegal are not supposed to occur and therefore should be preventable.
"Each sport has a unique set of rules developed to promote fair competition and protect participants from injury," study co-author Dawn Comstock, of the Ohio State University College of Medicine said in a statement. "Thus, enforcing rules and punishing illegal activity is a risk control measure that may reduce injury rates by modifying players' behavior."