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Definitions and Epidemiology

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Very little data are available on the epidemiology of sport-related musculoskeletal injuries in children and adolescents.1–6 It is estimated that approximately 30 million children and adolescents participate in organized sports each year in the United States.3 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study was conducted in 2005–2006. There were 7.2 million students who participated in high school sports in 2005–2006. It is estimated that high school sports account for two million injuries, 500,000 physician visits, and 30,000 hospitalizations every year. In the CDC study, sports injuries were defined as those (1) resulting from participation in an organized high school athletic practice or competition, (2) requiring medical attention from a certified athletic trainer or a physician, and (3) restricting the athlete's participation for 1 or more days beyond the day of injury. An athlete exposure was defined as one athlete participating in one practice or competition during which the athlete was exposed to the possibility of athletic injury.

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Sports-specific injury rates are shown in Table 19-1, proportion of injuries in practice and competition by diagnosis is shown in Figure 19-1, and proportion of injuries by sport and number of days lost are shown in Figure 19-2.

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Figure 19-1
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Proportion of injuries in practice and competition by diagnosis. (From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sport-related injuries among high school athletes – United States, 2005-06 school year. MMWR. 2006;55(38):1037-1040.)

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Figure 19-2
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Proportion of injuries by sport and number of days lost. (From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sport-related injuries among high school athletes–United States, 2005-06 school year. MMWR. 2006;55(38):1037-1040.)

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Table Graphic Jump Location
Table 19-1. Sport-Specific Injury Rates* in Practice, Competition, and Overall—High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study, United States, 2005–2006 School Year
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Based on the CDC study, the overall injury rate in all high school sports combined was 2.44 injuries per 1000 athlete exposures. Football has the highest injury rate at 4.36 injuries per 1000 athlete exposures. In each of the nine sports for which data were collected, approximately 80% of the injuries reported were new injuries. Overall, the injury rates were higher for competition compared to practice. Approximately ...

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