Sports injuries among children in six European union countries

Eur J Epidemiol. 2001;17(11):1005-12. doi: 10.1023/a:1020078522493.


Since sports participation entails the risk of injuries that account for substantial morbidity and disability, the existence of adequate epidemiological information is essential for the development of sound preventive strategies. In this study, we present data on the occurrence of sports injuries among children in six European countries, namely Austria, Denmark, France, Greece, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. An operational definition for sports injuries was developed, and comparable data from the European Home and Leisure Accident Surveillance System, an established injury surveillance system operating in 12 European union countries, were collected from the participating member states, during a 1-year period (1998). Sports injuries were examined in schools, in organised and unorganised settings, and in specific types of sports by demographics and injury descriptive variables. Sports injuries represent a quantitatively important and sufficiently serious problem in European union countries, accounting for an estimated annual number of about a quarter of a million outpatient visits in two of the participating countries, which provide national estimates. It is evident, that sport injuries are not only common but also injuries of considerable severity, since a large fraction represents fractures, while approximately 4% of the total require hospitalisation. Football and basketball among male children are, in declining order, the two sports responsible for the most frequent injuries in the European union countries, whereas gymnastics and volleyball prevail among females. The study indicates the importance of injury surveillance in describing the epidemiology of sports injuries and provides an estimate of the magnitude and the profile of sport injuries that take place annually in European union countries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Austria / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child Welfare
  • Child, Preschool
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • European Union
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Population Surveillance
  • Schools / statistics & numerical data
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology