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Basketball Injuries Land Many Kids in ER

Basketball-Related Strains, Sprains Most Common, But Traumatic Brain Injuries Up 70%
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

young boy holding basketball

Sept. 13, 2010 -- More than 375,000 boys and girls a year suffer basketball injuries that require visits to emergency rooms, a new study shows.

The most common injuries during the 1997-2007 study period were strains or sprains in the lower extremities (30.3%), according to researchers, but traumatic brain injuries have increased by 70%.

More than 4 million basketball-related injuries among children aged 5-19 years required emergency room visits during the 11-year period.

Boys were more likely than girls to sustain cuts, fractures, or dislocations, but girls were more likely to sustain traumatic brain injuries, as well as injuries to the knee. Study authors say the big jump in traumatic brain injuries is cause for concern, and more research is needed to understand why it is happening.

Data Source for Study

Researchers examined data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Their study, which has been published online, will appear in the October issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Among findings:

  • 23.8% of all injuries involved the ankle.
  • Youths aged 15-19 years were more likely to suffer injuries to the lower extremities.
  • Kids aged 5-10 years were more likely to sustain injuries to the upper extremities, traumatic brain injuries, fractures, or dislocations.

 

Study Findings

Basketball is the most common team sport for both girls and boys in the United States, and though sports activity has health benefits, most sports have inherent injury risks that need further investigation, the researchers say. They also report:

  • The mean age of injured patients was 14.3 years.
  • Boys accounted for 74.2% of injuries.
  • 50.7% of injuries were to adolescents aged 15-19 years. This group also had the highest injury rate, 9.3 per 1,000 players.
  • Children of middle-school age, 11-14 years old, had an injury rate of 9 per 1,000. And the rate for kids aged 5-10 years was 1.5 per 1,000 players.
  • Injury rates were highest among 13-year-old girls and 15-year-old boys.

 

Basketball Injuries Should Be a Major Concern

Basketball-related injuries treated in emergency rooms decreased 21.8% from 404,313 in 1997 to 316,081 in 2007. What’s more, the injury rate for youths playing basketball decreased 24.8%, from 6.8 injuries per 1,000 children in 1997 to 5.1 per 1,000 in 2007.

The injuries occurred all year long, but 44.4% occurred between December and March.

The highest incidence for injuries was in January, during which 12.6% occurred.

The study also found:

  • Patients required hospitalization in 33,753 cases, or 0.8%, and boys were more likely than girls to be admitted.
  • Kids aged 5-10 years were more likely than youths aged 11-19 years to be hospitalized.
  • Fractures and dislocations accounted for 57% of all hospital admissions, and traumatic brain injuries accounted for 14.1%.
  • 8.4% of the injuries involved finger injuries.
  • 36.1% of injuries occurred at a sports or recreational facility. Lower extremity injuries accounted for 42% of the total, followed by 37.2% to upper extremities, and 16.4% to the head.

 

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