WEDNESDAY, March 15, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Rates and types of high school athletic injuries vary by sport, gender, and exposure and have increased in severity, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, held from March 7 to 11 in Las Vegas.
Jordan Neoma Pizzarro, from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and colleagues used data from the National Health School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study to characterize injuries in U.S. high school athletes (2015 to 2019). The analysis included data from five boys’ (football, soccer, basketball, wrestling, and baseball) and four girls’ (soccer, basketball, volleyball, and softball) sports.
The researchers found that high school athletic trainers reported 15,531 injuries over 6,778,209 athletic exposures (AEs; practice or competition), yielding an estimated 5.2 million injuries nationally. Football (3.96 per AE), girls’ soccer (2.65), and boys’ wrestling (2.36) had the highest injury rates, with injury rates overall higher in boys’ sports (2.52) versus girls’ sports (1.56). Furthermore, the injury rate was higher in competition versus practice (rate ratio, 3.39). The head and face (24.2 percent), ankle (17.6 percent), and knee (14.1 percent) were the most commonly injured body sites, while sprains/strains (36.8 percent) and concussions (21.6 percent) were the most common diagnoses. Fractures accounted for 3.5 percent of all injuries and were more common in boys’ sports (4.2 percent) than girls’ sports (2.0 percent). Boys’ baseball (8.4 percent) had the highest proportion of fractures, followed by boys’ basketball (4.8 percent) and boys’ football (4.5 percent). Overall, 6.3 percent of injuries required surgery, including most commonly wrestling (9.6 percent), girls’ basketball (7.6 percent), and boys’ baseball (7.4 percent).
“The increase in injuries to the head coupled with the higher proportion of injuries causing time loss of greater than one week shows that, despite the overall decrease in injuries, those that are occurring have changed in form and severity,” the authors write.
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