Sports and Recreation Related Injury Episodes in the United States, 2011-2014

Yahtyng Sheu, Senior Service Fellow

Yahtyng Sheu, Senior Service Fellow

Questions for Yahtyng Sheu, Senior Service Fellow and Lead Author on “Sports and Recreation Related Injury Episodes in the United States, 2011-2014

Q: How many sports and recreation related injuries are being reported annually?

YS: According to our analysis, approximately 8.6 million of sports- and recreation- related injury episodes were reported annually among persons aged 5 and over using data from the 2011-2014 National Health Interview Survey. These injury episodes were medically-attended, for which a health care professional was contacted, either in person or by telephone, for advice or treatment. Therefore, these injury episodes were not limited to those resulted in emergency department visit or hospitalization.


Q: Did the sports and recreation related injuries differ by sex and age group? If so how?

YS: Yes. The distribution of sports- and recreation-related injuries differed by both sex and age. Approximately 60% of all the sports- and recreation-related injuries were sustained by men. Children and young adults between age 5 and 24 years old also accounted for 65% of the total sport- and recreation-related injuries.


Q: What types of sports and recreation activities are causing these injuries?

YS: Our data shows that general exercise, which includes aerobics, exercising, weight training, running, jogging, and school related activity, was the most frequently mentioned activity associated with sports-and recreation-related injuries. However, it does not mean that general exercise is more likely to “cause” injuries. We are unable to study what activities are more likely to cause injuries because the National Health Interview Survey do not collect data on activity participation. This prevents us from evaluating the risk of injury for individual activity.


Q: What parts of the body were more frequently injured while engaging in sports and recreation?

YS: Lower (42%) and upper (30%) extremities were the most frequently mentioned parts of body injured while engaging in the sports and recreation activity.


Q: Why did you decide to look at sports and recreation related injuries?

YS: Many epidemiological studies of sports- and recreation-related injuries have focused on specific populations, sport activities, or outcomes. Limited number of studies have provided national estimates on overall sports- and recreation-related injuries among all population. The latest national estimates on these type of injuries (that are not limited to emergency department visits data) were derived from 1997-1999 data. As more people engage in sports and recreation activity, we feel there is a need to address the patterns of sports- and recreation- related injuries using more recent data.

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