Child Gymnasts at High Risk for Injury

April 7, 2008

Gymnastics has one of the highest injury rates of all girls' sports, accounting for an average 26,600 hospital emergency department treatments a year in children, according to an article published in the April issue of Pediatrics.

MONDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Gymnastics has one of the highest injury rates of all girls' sports, accounting for an average 26,600 hospital emergency department treatments a year in children, according to an article published in the April issue of Pediatrics.

Shubha Singh, of Ohio State University in Columbus, and colleagues analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from 1990 to 2005 to calculate the frequency of types of injury associated with gymnastics.

During the study period, 425,900 children aged 6 to 17 years were treated at hospital emergency departments for injuries related to gymnastics, an overall incidence rate of 4.8 injuries per 1,000 gymnasts, and 7.4 per 1,000 gymnasts aged 12 to 17 years, the investigators found. Upper extremity injuries accounted for 42.3 percent of the total, while 33.8 percent involved lower extremities, 12.9 percent involved the head and neck, and 10.4 percent involved the trunk. While 44.5 percent of injuries were strains and sprains, 30.4 percent were fractures or dislocations and 15.6 percent were abrasions or contusions; 97.1 percent of patients were treated and released, the report indicates.

"Establishment of a national database for gymnastics-related injuries, including exposure data for direct calculation of injury rates, would permit better identification and monitoring of risk factors for gymnastics-related injuries and aid in the development, implementation and evaluation of injury prevention strategies based on epidemiological evidence," the authors conclude.

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