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Epidemiology of Pediatric Soccer-Related Injuries — Soccer Parent Alert!

Written by Pathways Magazine   
Saturday, 01 September 2007 00:00

In the May 2, 2007 issue of Journal Watch Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine a new study on soccer injuries was published. Researchers used data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System to examine soccer-related injuries among children (ages 2–18 years) presenting to U.S. emergency departments.

During 1990 to 2003 about 1.6 million children presented with soccer-related injuries (mean age, 13; 59% boys). The most commonly injured body parts were the wrist and hand (20%), ankle (18%), and knee (11%). The most common diagnoses were sprain or strain (36%), contusion or abrasion (24%), and fracture (23%). Boys were more likely than girls to have face injuries, head or neck injuries, and lacerations; they were also more likely to be hospitalized. Girls were more likely to have ankle and knee injuries. Although 87% of injuries occurred in children ages 10 to 18, children ages 2 to 4 had a higher proportion of face and head or neck injuries and were more likely to be hospitalized than older children.

M. Susan Jay, MD says, “Of particular concern is the increased risk for head injuries and hospitalization among children ages 2 to 4. Cautioning parents against engaging preschool-age children in such activity until appropriate developmental skills are in place seems to makes sense. The authors note that more research is needed to determine whether soccer helmets and efforts to minimize heading can decrease the risk for concussion and other head injuries. They recommend developing a national database of soccer participation and injury data to better identify injury risks and to help design interventions to reduce injury and promote soccer safety. Fortunately, soccer has a relatively low injury rate compared with other contact sports.”

Pathways Issue 15 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #15.

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