Sports-related Injuries in Children


Department of Emergency Medicine, Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, P.O. Box 269, Wilmington, DE 19899. Fax: 302-651-4227; e-mail:


Abstract. Objective: To describe the demographics and types of sports-related injuries (SRIs) in children. Methods: The authors performed a retrospective chart review of children 5-18 years of age diagnosed as having an SRI in a pediatric emergency department (ED) during a two-year period. Patients were identified by ICD-9 codes. Data collected were age, sex, sport, ED interventions, consultations, mechanism, location, and injury type. Pairwise comparisons were reported as odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals. Results: Six hundred seventy-seven SRIs fit the inclusion criteria; 480 of the patients were male (71%). The mean ages of the males and females were 13.0 years (SD ± 3.0 yr) and 12.4 years (SD ± 2.9 yr), respectively. The six most common sports implicated were basketball (19.5%), football (17.1%), baseball/softball (14.9%), soccer (14.2%), in-line skating (Rollerblading)/skating (5.7%), and hockey (4.6%). Sprains/strains (32.0%), fractures (29.4%), contusions/abrasions (19.3%), and lacerations (9.7%) accounted for 90% of injury types. Pairwise comparison of the four injury types in the six sports listed showed significant associations for contusions/abrasions in baseball, sprains/strains in basketball, fractures in Rollerblading/skating, and lacerations in hockey. Age variance, including all sports, of the younger group (5-11 yr) in fractures and the older group (12-18 yr) in sprains was significant. The most common injury location was wrist/hand (28%), followed by head/face (22%) and ankle/foot (18%). Each had significant sport-specific predilections. Contact with person or object was the mechanism for >50% of the SRIs. Sport-specific mechanisms followed lines drawn from the sport-specific injury types and locations. Conclusions: The pediatric age group incurs a variety of injuries in numerous sports with diverse sex, age, mechanism, location, injury type, and sport-specific differences.