Emergency Department Visits for Injuries Sustained During Sports and Recreational Activities by Patients Aged 5–24 Years, 2010–2016

November 15, 2019

Questions for Lead Author Anna Rui, Health Statistician, of “Emergency Department Visits for Injuries Sustained During Sports and Recreational Activities by Patients Aged 5–24 Years, 2010–2016.”

Q: What do you think is the most significant finding in this report?

AR: The top activities that caused emergency room (ER) visits for sports injuries by patients ages 5-24 years were football, basketball, pedal cycling, and soccer. There was wide variation by age and sex in the types of activities causing ER visits for sports injuries.

Q: Out of all of the sports, which sport or activity was found to have the largest increase in ER visits over time?

AR: We did not assess trends over time in the report.

Q: Is it accurate to say that the sports in the study are the most dangerous? Or do they have the most ER visits because they are simply the most popular?

AR: There are likely other health care utilization measures besides ER visits that others would want to look at as well, but the purpose of the report was to estimate the number of ER visits for sports injuries, and these are the sports that account for the most visits.

Q: What are some limitations of the report?

AR: The definition of sports and recreational activities relied on data processing and manual review of medical records, which could have resulted in over- or under-estimation of the sports injury ER rate. The study did not include patients who sought care in other settings or who did not seek care; thus the estimates in the report are an underestimate of all health care utilization for sports injuries.

Q: Why is this report important?

AR: Many young Americans engage in some type of sports or recreational activity each year, and sports and recreation-related injuries are a common type of injury seen in hospital ERs. It’s important to understand the types of injuries that are most commonly seen in the ER and which sports account for those injuries in order to monitor and guide injury prevention efforts. In addition, we provide updated estimates of treatments administered in the ER for sports injuries, which provides new information that can be used to monitor improvements to the quality and value of care and serve as a benchmark for future studies.

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

November 18, 2016
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.