Physical Education Injuries Up 150 Percent Since 1997

Almost 70 percent of injuries occur in six sports, including running, football and gymnastics
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 3 (HealthDay News) -- The number of injuries sustained by children and adolescents annually during physical education (PE) activities increased more than 150 percent during the years 1997 to 2007, according to a study published online Aug. 3 in Pediatrics.

Nicolas G. Nelson, of Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues conducted a retrospective analysis of 11 years of data on injuries to children and adolescents 5 to 18 years old from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance Study of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The authors report that there were an estimated 405,305 children and adolescents treated in emergency departments for injuries related to PE from 1997 to 2007, with the annual number of cases increasing from 24,347 in 1997 to 62,408 in 2007. The researchers found that almost 70 percent of the injuries occurred during one of six activities: running, basketball, football, volleyball, soccer, and gymnastics. Boys were more likely to suffer a head injury and to be diagnosed with a laceration or fracture. Boys' injuries were more likely to result from collision with another person or a structure, and the injuries were most likely to occur during group sports. Girls were more likely to suffer strains or sprains of the legs, ankle or foot, and the injuries were generally acute non-contact injuries.

"More research is needed to identify the cause of the increase in PE-related injuries, to examine the gender difference in PE-related injuries, and to determine appropriate injury prevention solutions and policies," the authors conclude.

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