Online Program

Epidemiology of Severe Injuries Among US High School Athletes, 2005/06-2012/13

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 12:30 p.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Lauren A. Pierpoint, MS, Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, CO
Dustin W. Currie, MPH, Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, CO
Sarah K. Fields, PhD, Department of Communication, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO
R. Dawn Comstock, PhD, Epidemiology, Pediatric Injury Prevention Education and Research Program, Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, CO
Introduction: Approximately 7.7 million US high school students played sports during 2012/13. Because sports participation increases injury risk, describing severe injury rates and patterns is important for injury prevention efforts.

Methods: The High School Reporting Information Online database of athlete exposure (AE) and injury incidence data from a large national sample of US high schools were evaluated for 22 sports from 2005/06-2012/13.  Injuries resulting in medical disqualification (MDQ) for the athlete’s season or career, or which motivated voluntary withdrawal from sports were qualified as severe.

Results: During the study period, 3,725 severe injuries occurred during 25,268,873 AEs (1.47 injuries/10,000 AEs).  Severe injuries accounted for 7.4% of all injuries.  MDQs for the season (83.6%) were predominant followed by voluntarily withdrawals (15.1%) and MDQs for the athlete’s career (1.3%). Rates were higher in competition (3.23) vs. practice (0.87) (RR=3.71, 95%CI=3.48–3.96). Boys had higher rates (1.80) than girls (0.97) (RR=1.85, 95%CI=1.72–1.99) overall, but girls had higher rates in gender-comparable sports (1.13 vs. 0.75; RR=1.51, 95%CI=1.35-1.68). Rates were highest in football (3.22), boys’ wrestling (2.51) and girls’ gymnastics (1.98). Commonly injured body parts were knee (31.3%), head/face (12.4%), and shoulder (8.8%).  Ligament sprains (28.5%), fractures (28.4%), and concussions (11.5%) were common diagnoses.  Most injuries (82.0%) were new; 38.0% required surgery. 

Conclusion: Rates of severe injuries differed by gender, exposure, and sport. Severe injuries which cause significant time loss from sports can pose psychological/financial burdens. Descriptions of severe injury patterns are important to drive effective injury prevention efforts.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe rates and patterns of severe injuries in US High School student-athletes.

Keyword(s): Epidemiology, Youth

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a PhD student in Epidemiology under Dr. Dawn Comstock at the University of Colorado Denver researching sports injury epidemiology among US High School students. I have worked with the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study for over a year and am experienced in analyzing its data. My scientific interests include sports injury surveillance with the goal of determining rates, patterns and potential risk factors of injuries in sport settings.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.