Kids' Injuries Are Falling

Sports injury among children decreased almost 13 percent over last decade

(RxWiki News) Though concern about pediatric injuries has increased in recent years, results from a new study may help parents feel a little more at ease about their kids' safety.

Sports and recreation musculoskeletal injuries in kids and young teens have declined almost 13 percent in the past 10 years across the US, according to a study recently presented at an orthopedic conference. Injuries from football and soccer, however, have continued to rise.

The findings show that injury prevention efforts can improve by understanding the trend of children's injuries in recreational activities and sports, as well as by teaching kids and parents to play safely.

"Safety first in kid's sports."

Research by Shital Parikh, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, looked at the number of injuries sustained by children between 5 and 14 years of age in eight different sports and activities through the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

Activities included bicycling, basketball, football, baseball and softball, soccer, trampolines, roller sports and playground equipment. Dr. Parikh focused specifically on the years 2000, 2005 and 2010.

The number of injuries overall decreased by more than 14 percent in 2005 and by more than 11 percent in 2010 compared to the number of injuries in the year 2000, Dr. Parikh found.

In the 5- to 14-year-old age group, injuries decreased by 12.7 percent in 2005 and 8.2 percent in 2010.

Of all the included activities, the number of bicycle injuries decreased the most, with injuries dropping more than 38 percent. Roller sports and trampoline injuries followed behind with 21 percent and 18 percent decreases, respectively.

At the same time, football injuries rose almost 23 percent. Soccer and playground injuries also increased by about 11 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

Rusty Gregory, a personal trainer and dailyRx Contributing Expert, said that more injuries are occurring in these "contact" sports because they are played year round.

"Kids are joining select teams, or tournament teams, that play all year long," Gregory said. "The thought is, if I don't keep up with the Jones', then my kid will get left behind and won't be able to compete in that sport with his/her buddies later on. This leads to overuse injuries because their bodies don't get the rest and recovery that is needed to prevent such injuries."

For every 1,000 people, there were about 32 injuries in 2000. By 2010, the number of injuries dropped to 28.5 per 1,000.

“These [outcomes] may reflect the changing pattern of childhood activities in the US as organized sports are encouraged, often at the cost of free play,” Dr. Parikh said in a press release.

To counter the rise in childhood obesity, physical inactivity and emotional disturbances in children, Dr. Parikh said the trend of childhood injuries needs to be better understood.

The study, which has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, was presented March 19 at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

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Review Date: 
March 30, 2013