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Five Popular Summer Sports Top the Most Injuries List

Academy Urges Children to Follow Safety Guidelines to Play Safe This Summer

ROSEMONT, Ill./PRNewswire/ -- Bicycling, basketball, roller sports, soccer, and baseball/softball occupy the majority of children's time during the spring and summer months. But these sports also get a lot of attention in hospital emergency rooms and doctors' offices across the nation, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

"Sometimes children are lulled into a false sense of security because they play sports on a daily basis," said Vernon T. Tolo, MD, president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and a Los Angeles pediatric orthopaedic surgeon. "In spring and summer millions of children play sports in their backyard or at the neighborhood park. These activities help develop muscles and coordination for kids, but can also result in injury. Young athletes are more susceptible to injury because children's bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments are still growing," explained Dr. Tolo.

An estimated 2.2 million children's fractures, dislocations and soft tissue injuries related to these recreation activities were treated at U.S. hospital emergency rooms, doctor's offices and clinics in 2000 with an estimated cost of $33 billion to society.

Bicycling leads the Academy's list of the five spring and summer sports/recreational activities that have the most fractures, dislocations, strains/sprains and contusions/abrasions to the extremities and trunk among children ages 5-14 years with 415,000 injuries.

Basketball had 407,000 injuries and roller sports had over 297,000 injuries in 2000. Other sports on the list are baseball/softball with a combined tota of 160,000 injuries; soccer, 185,000 injuries; and trampolines, 135,000 injuries.

Volleyball, gymnastics, and scooter-related injuries closely followed with an increasing number of injuries in 2000. The majority are sprains and strains, cuts and bruises, fractures and dislocations.

These estimates are projections of all medically treated injuries in 2000. They are derived from estimates of hospital emergency room-treated injuries reported through the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

As part of the Prevent Injuries America!® program, the Academy urges children and adults to follow these important guidelines:

  • Know and abide by the rules of the sport.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear (for example, shin guards for soccer, a hard-shell helmet when facing a baseball pitchr, a helmet for bike riding).
  • Check equipment first and know how to use athletic equipment (i.e. breakaways bases have proven to be effective in dramatically reducing leg injuries in children).
  • Always warm up before playing.
  • Avoid playing when very tired or in pain.

An orthopaedic surgeon is a physician with extensive training in the diagnosis and non-surgical as well as surgical treatment of the musculoskeletal system, including bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves.