Playing Hoops Is a Common Cause of Pediatric Injuries

Basketball associated with more than four million injuries treated in ERs from 1997 to 2007
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Though basketball-related injuries requiring emergency treatment appear to be declining, their frequency is a reason for concern, according to research published online Sept. 13 in Pediatrics.

Charles Randazzo, of the Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues analyzed data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from 1997 to 2007. They focused on injuries in 5- to 19-year-olds occurring during basketball play that were treated in emergency departments.

The researchers found that an estimated 4,128,852 basketball-related injuries were treated during this period. The annual number fell by 21.8 percent from 1997 to 2007, but the number of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) increased by 70 percent. Youths ages 15 to 19 were more likely to injure their lower extremities, and children ages 5 to 10 were more likely to injure their upper extremities and have TBIs as well as fractures and dislocations. The most common injury was a lower-extremity sprain or strain (30.3 percent), particularly of the ankle (23.8 percent). The authors concluded that the high frequency of injuries in the sport is cause for concern.

"An estimated 375,350 basketball-related injuries per year were treated in U.S. emergency departments, and there is a need to reduce this number. TBIs, which carry significant risk, were found to increase over the 11-year study period, despite the overall downward trend in basketball injuries. More research is necessary to determine the factors underlying this increase in TBIs and to identify opportunities for further reductions in injuries in this popular sport," the authors write.

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