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Pediatric Injuries at an Annual Motocross Competition: Rates and Severity

Williams, Brendan A. MD; McFadden, James P. MD; Teurlings, Tyler L. BS; Blakemore, Laurel C. MD

Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics: April/May 2017 - Volume 37 - Issue 3 - p e168–e173
doi: 10.1097/BPO.0000000000000849

Purpose: Pediatric motocross injuries occur frequently and with significant associated morbidity; however, data are limited regarding injury occurring during competition. North Central Florida hosts an annual motocross competition with numerous pediatric competitors. We sought to evaluate the rate and severity of injuries sustained at this event over a multiyear period. Our primary hypothesis was that motocross injury rates and severity in competition exceed that of other competitive sports in this age group.

Methods: A retrospective review was performed to identify pediatric patients (17 and younger) presenting to a single Level 1 Trauma Center as a result of injury sustained at an annual motocross competition from 2009 to 2012. Demographic, diagnostic, and treatment data were collected including injuries, procedural interventions, and length of hospital stay. Rate, type, and severity of injury were evaluated and compared with established norms of other competitive sports in a similar age group.

Results: Over a 4-year period, 51 pediatric motocross competitors sustained 75 injuries. Injured riders were 14.2±2.51 years (range, 8 to 17 y) old and 92% (47/51) male. Forty (78%) patients sustained at least 1 orthopaedic injury and 17 (33%) patients suffered polytrauma. The majority of injuries occurred in the upper extremity (36%). Twenty-four (47%) patients required procedural intervention, 15 of which were operative. Thirty-nine (76%) patients necessitated surgical specialty care. Average injury severity score was 6.5 (1 to 75) and 1 death occurred. The injury rate for pediatric motocross riders in this study was 19.9 injuries per 1000 competitors.

Conclusions: High rates of injury occur among pediatric patients in competitive motocross, exceeding those seen in other competitive sports in a comparable age group. Significant morbidity and at least 1 fatality were demonstrated in the group studied. The majority of patients suffer at least 1 orthopaedic injury and nearly all patients require pediatric surgical specialist care. Polytrauma is common. Motocross participants and parents should be aware of these risks of competition and event organizers should arrange events near facilities with appropriate pediatric surgical specialty services.

Level of Evidence: Level IV—case series.

Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

No funding was received.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Laurel C. Blakemore, MD, Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine Institute, University of Florida, P.O. Box 112727, Gainesville, FL 32611. E-mail:

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