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Trends in Pediatric Sports-related and Recreation-related Injuries in the United States in the Last Decade

Lykissas, Marios G. MD, PhD; Eismann, Emily A. MS; Parikh, Shital N. MD

Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics: December 2013 - Volume 33 - Issue 8 - p 803–810
doi: 10.1097/BPO.0000000000000099

Background: There is an apparent increase in pediatric sports and recreation (SR)-related injuries in the United States in the last decade. The aim of this study was to compare injuries in 2000 to injuries sustained in 2005 and 2010 to determine the trend in 8 most common pediatric SR-related injuries in the United States in the last decade.

Methods: The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System was queried for injuries sustained in the 5- to 14-year age group for the 8 most common SR-related activities for years 2000, 2005, and 2010.

Results: Compared with 2000, the musculoskeletal injuries decreased by 10.8% in 2005 and 12.4% in 2010 for the top 8 SR-related activities in children of 5 to 14 years. This corresponded with 13.2% (2005) and 1.1% (2010) decreases in all injuries. Controlling for total United States population of children of 5 to 14 years, the musculoskeletal injury incidence rate for all 8 SR-related activities decreased from 16.4/1000 person-year in 2000 to 14.4/1000 person-year in 2010. Sports-specific injuries decreased in 6 of 8 SR-related activities from 2000 to 2010. The maximal decrease was seen in bicycling (38.1%), roller sports (20.8%), and trampolines (17.5%). Football and soccer injuries increased by 22.8% and 10.8%, respectively. Compared with children aged 5 to 9 years, children aged 10 to 14 sustained a greater proportion of total injuries.

Conclusions: The perception that pediatric SR injuries in the United States have increased in the last decade appears to not be true. The apparent misconception of an increased rate of injury may in fact be due to increased severity of injuries, overuse injuries, or increased diagnosis, but is not due to increase in the total number of acute injuries. Understanding the trend of pediatric SR-related injuries can help future injury-prevention efforts.

Level of Evidence: Level IV—prognostic study.

Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH

This study was completed in its entirety at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and was internally supported by the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery. There was no external funding source for this study.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Reprint: Shital N. Parikh, MD, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Avenue, MLC 2017, Cincinnati, OH 45229. E-mail:

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins