Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) have explored patterns in pediatric sports injuries in a new study published in the Journal of Athletic Training. The study examined records of more than 2.5 million children ages 1 to 18 years who were seen in hospital emergency departments for sports or recreation injuries during an 8-year study period, according to a UAB news release. The five most common causes of injury across all of childhood were football, basketball, bicycling, soccer, and playgrounds.

The study focused on patterns in injury accidents by age and gender, and David Schwebel, PhD, and Carl Brezausek, MD, analyzed data spanning 2001 to 2008 from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, a database of injuries treated at hospital emergency departments. The data showed injuries related to particular recreation activities peaking around specific ages, such as playground-related injuries that remained relevant up to age 9, while activities such as bicycling caused injuries throughout the age span, as indicated on the UAB news release.

The UAB news release notes that injuries peaked overall at age 14, and bowling caused the most injuries to children at the youngest age (age 4). In addition, camping and personal watercraft caused the most injuries to the oldest (age 18).

Schwebel states, “There are huge numbers of children in the United States who play sports. Injuries can and do occur when children are active in sports-related activities, and often they could be prevented.”

Schwebel adds, “We should continue to preach safety in activities that are organized and activities that are unorganized. I think it’s the task of parents, coaches, school administrators and even children themselves to be wary that injuries can and do occur and that most are preventable.”

Source: University of Alabama at Birmingham