From 1991 through 2008 more than 159,000 children and adolescents aged 10 to 18 were treated in US emergency departments for track-related injuries, say researchers at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital. The annual number of track-related injuries increased 36% during the 18-year study period, increasing from 7,702 in 1991 to 10,496 in 2008.
According to the study, the most common injury diagnoses were sprains and/or strains (52%) and fractures or dislocations (17%). The study looked at 7 different track-related activities—sprinting, cross country, running, hurdles, relays, stretching and/or drills, and "other" activities. The most common activities being performed at the time of injury were running (59%) and hurdles (23%).
The most commonly injured body parts varied across activity and across age group. For instance, elementary students were more likely to sustain upper extremity injuries while high school students were more likely to sustain lower leg injuries.
"With this in mind, track-related injury prevention efforts may need to be tailored by activity for different age groups in order to most effectively address the injury concerns the athletes are facing,” said Lara McKenzie, PhD, principal investigator at the Center for Injury Research and Policy and senior author of the study.
Free, full-text of the study is available in The Physician and Sportsmedicine.