Fractures Comprise Sizable Portion of HS Sports Injuries

Make up 10.1 percent of injuries in high school athletes; more common in boys, often affect hands
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Fractures are a common type of injury among high school athletes, with potentially serious repercussions for the students and their families, according to research published in the July issue of the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine.

David M. Swenson, of the Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, and colleagues analyzed data on sports injuries from the 2005 to 2009 academic years from an Internet-based sports injury surveillance system. A nationally representative sample of 100 high schools participated.

The researchers found that fractures made up 10.1 percent of all injuries among high school athletes. The highest fracture rate was in football (4.61 per 10,000 athlete exposures, defined as an athlete participating in one practice or competition). The lowest rate was in volleyball (0.52 per 10,000 athlete exposures). Boys sustained 83 percent of all fractures. Overall, fractures were more likely to occur in competitions than practice. The most frequently fractured sites were the hand or finger (28.3 percent), wrist (10.4 percent), and lower leg (9.3 percent). A majority of fractures resulted in more than three weeks' time lost (34.3 percent) or a medical disqualification from participation in the sport (24.2 percent). Fractures often required surgery or costly diagnostic imaging exams such as X-ray, computed tomography, or magnetic resonance imaging.

"Participation in high school sports continues to increase in the United States. Unless effective prevention efforts are implemented, the number of fractures sustained by high school athletes will also increase. The financial and time burdens resulting from fractures include expensive surgeries, diagnostic testing, and restricted participation from sports," the authors conclude. "Our findings underscore the need for the development, implementation, and evaluation of targeted evidence-based fracture prevention programs."

DonJoy Orthotics and EyeBlack provided funding for the study.

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