A new study presented at the 2014 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) shows that extreme sports are responsible for an increased risk of severe head and neck injuries. For the study, researchers reviewed data from 2000-2011 from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) for seven popular sports featured in the Winter and Summer X Games: mountain biking, snow skiing, motocross, surfing, skateboarding, snowmobiling, and snowboarding. Data from the database was collected for each sport and type of head and neck injury (HNI).

According to a Medical News Today (MNT) report, the risk of concussion, skull fracture, and neck fracture were calculated using extreme sport participation rates from the 2013 Outdoor Foundation Participation Report. The results of the data analysis show that of the 4 million injuries reported for extreme sport participants, 11.3% were HNI. Of all HNI reported in extreme sports, 83% were head injuries and 17% were neck injuries. The MNT news report notes that this data included all ages, but teens and young adults accounted for the highest percentage of extreme sport injuries.

The results of the study also reveal that concussions were the most common HNI injury among extreme sports participants, with the concussion risk highest in snowboarding and skateboarding. Also, among other findings of the study, the incidence of extreme sports head and neck injuries increased from 34,065 in 2000 to 40,042 in 2010.

Vani J. Sabesan, MD, the lead author of the study, states, “The research provides a baseline to further study head and neck injuries among extreme sport participants. There’s an understanding that these sports are growing in participation, and that they can result in significant injuries.” Sabesan adds that the findings provide “an opportunity for sports medicine and orthopaedic surgeons to advocate for safer equipment, improved on-site medical care, and further research regarding extreme sport injuries.”

Source: Medical News Today