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Almost half A&E visits for sports injuries are children

Friday November 2nd, 2018

Children and teenagers account for almost half of sport injury-related emergency department attendances and almost a quarter of sport injury-related hospital admissions, a new study out today (2 November 2018) has found.

The findings led the research team to suggest that local authorities and schools should target sport injury prevention at children in the first four years of secondary school.

For younger children there should be further safety measures for home trampolines and interventions for injury prevention in rugby and horse-riding, they say.

Analysis by researchers at Newcastle University and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, UK, found that of the 63,877 attendances recorded at two NHS hospitals in Banbury and Oxford between 1 January 2012 and 30 March 2014, 11,676 were sport-related.

Of these, 5,553 were among young people up to the age of 19, with 14-year-old boys and 12-year-old girls being most at risk of sustaining a sporting injury.

Writing in the latest edition of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, the researchers found that boys suffered injuries mainly due to football, rugby union and rugby league, while for girls it was trampoline, netball and horse-riding.

Almost a quarter of the injuries were fractures, the highest percentage to the upper limbs. Rugby union was the sport most associated with head injury and concussion in boys and for girls, head injuries were most common during horse riding.

Dr Tom Hughes, emergency department consultant at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, said: “Emergency department reception staff do a great job collecting injury data on our patients, and by using this information, we can prevent injuries. This analysis highlights areas we should be exploring to see how we can make everyday activities a bit safer without being boring.”

Graham Kirkwood, senior research associate at Newcastle University, added: “These figures are equivalent to 68 boys and 34 girls in every thousand attending NHS emergency departments in a year. This is a heavy burden on the NHS and on children and families from sport-related injury.

“Children need to be physically active but making organised sports as safe as possible needs to be part of any effective child obesity strategy.”

Kirkwood G, Hughes TC, Pollock AM et al. Results on sports-related injuries in children from NHS emergency care dataset Oxfordshire pilot: an ecological study. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 2 November 2018; doi:10.1177/0141076818808430

Tags: A&E | Child Health | Fitness | UK News

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