According to a recent study, football and wrestling lead the college sports injury rate for men, and soccer and gymnastics lead the rate for women.

A research team led by Dr Alejandro Azofeifa, of the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) looked at data on injuries suffered by NCAA athletes in 25 sports between the 2009-10 and 2013-14 school years. They tabulated 1,053,370 injuries over the 5 years of the study, for an average of 210,674 injuries per year.

Football accounted for the most injuries, at more than 47,000 per year. The sport also had the highest rate of injuries during competition, at just under 40 per 1,000 times an athlete engaged in the sport (“athlete-exposures”), explains a media release from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, when the researchers added in the rate of practice-linked injuries, the overall injury rate fell to 9.2 per every 1,000 athlete-exposures, per the release.

Among women’s sports, gymnastics had the highest overall injury rate (10.4 per 1,000), as well as practice injury rate (10 per 1,000), while soccer had the highest injury rate during competitions (slightly more than 17 per 1,000).

The researchers also found that more injuries occurred during practices than during competition in all sports except men’s ice hockey and baseball. Overall, nearly 64% of injuries occurred during practices, the release explains.

The investigators stressed, however, that injuries suffered during competition did tend to be more severe than those suffered during practice. That’s probably due to “a higher intensity of activity during competitions compared with practices,” according to Azofeifa’s team, in the release.

Overall, 4% of injuries required surgery and just under 1% required transport to an emergency department.

Nearly half of all injuries suffered by college athletes were sprains or strains, and sprains and strains also accounted for about half of injuries that required athletes to sit out for at least a week, according to the study, per the release.

The study appears in the December 11 issue of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

[Source(s): US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HealthDay]