Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP)
There is concern about recent increase and severity of sports-related injuries in children. Despite the benefits of sports participation, injuries may carry long-term health consequences. We aimed to evaluate the prevalence, characteristics and types of hospitalized sports-related injuries in children.
Population-based study of all acute sports-related injuries requiring hospitalization in children 5 to 15 years of age in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, 2005–2013. Health information was obtained from the NSW Admitted Patient Data Collection, a census of all hospital admissions from public and private hospitals. Children with a recorded ICD10-AM injury code (S00-T79) and sport-related activity code (U50-U70) were included. Prevalence and trend in injuries by age group, sporting code, body region affected and type of injury were assessed.
There was a total of 20,034 hospitalizations for sports-related injuries (2.7% of all hospitalizations in children aged 5–15 years), involving 21,346 recorded injuries in 19,576 children. The overall population hospitalization period prevalence was 227 per 100,000 children aged 5–15 years in 2005–2013, remaining stable over time (RR 0.99; 95% CI 0.98–1.00). Football codes such as rugby league/union and soccer combined represented nearly two thirds of the total (60%). The most common body regions affected were the forearm (31%) head (15%) and hand injuries (13%). Fractures accounted for 65% of injuries followed by dislocations (10%) and traumatic brain injury (10%). Compared to other age groups, children aged 5–8 years had double the proportion of shoulder (15% vs. 7%) while 13–15 year olds had higher proportion of lower-leg (14% vs. 8%) and knee (6% vs.2%) injuries. One in seven injuries sustained while playing rugby league/union, baseball and hockey were traumatic brain injuries. A total of 444 (2.2%) of children had more than one hospitalization for sports-related injuries.
On average, six children were hospitalized every day for sports-related injuries in the last decade with trends remaining stable. The most common sports involved were football codes, one in three injuries involved the forearm and two thirds were fractures. These findings can be used to inform health policy and sporting governing bodies to target preventive interventions and promote safe sports participation in children.
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