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Sports and Recreation Injuries in US Children and Adolescents

Polly E. Bijur, PhD, MPH; Ann Trumble, PhD; Yossi Harel, PhD; Mary D. Overpeck, DrPH; Diane Jones, PhD; Peter C. Scheidt, MD, MPH
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149(9):1009-1016. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170220075010.
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Objectives:  To estimate and describe morbidity from sports and recreation injuries in children and adolescents.

Design:  Survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics—the Child Health Supplement to the 1988 National Health Interview Survey.

Setting:  The general community.

Participants:  Representative sample of the noninstitutionalized civilian US population. Five percent of the eligible households did not participate. The subject of this report is 11 840 children and adolescents aged 5 to 17 years.

Main Outcome Measures:  Medically attended non-fatal injuries resulting from sports and recreation, and serious sports injuries, defined as injuries resulting in hospitalization, surgical treatment, missed school, or half a day or more in bed. Sports and recreation injuries were defined as those occurring in a place of recreation or sports, or receiving any of the following International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) E-codes: struck in sports, fall in sports, bicycle-related injury, riding an animal, water sports, overexertion, fall from playground equipment or other vehicles, primarily skates and skateboards.

Results:  The estimated annual number of all injuries from sports and recreation in US children and adolescents is 4 379 000 (95% confidence interval=3 147 000 to 5 611 000); from serious sport injuries, 1 363 000 (95% confidence interval=632 000 to 2 095 000). Sports account for 36% of injuries from all causes. Cause and nature of injury are strongly related to age. Sports do not account for a disproportionate number of serious or repeated injuries compared with other causes of injuries.

Conclusion:  Sports activities account for a large number and substantial proportion of all injuries to children and youth.(Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149:1009-1016)

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