Subsequent injury patterns in girls' high school sports

J Athl Train. Oct-Dec 2007;42(4):486-94.


Context: Girls' participation in high school sports has increased 79.5% since 1975-1976. The incidence of injury among boys in high school sports has been well documented, but information regarding the incidence, severity, and type of injury among girls in high school sports is limited.

Objective: To examine the effects of subsequent injuries among high school girls in 5 sports.

Design: Observational cohort.

Setting: Existing data from the 1995-1997 National Athletic Trainers' Association High School Injury Surveillance database.

Patients or other participants: Girl athletes (n = 25 187 player-seasons) participating in 5 varsity high school sports: basketball, field hockey, soccer, softball, and volleyball.

Main outcome measure(s): Injury status, body location, injury type, time lost from injury, and number of players at risk for injury as recorded by athletic trainers and submitted to the Sports Injury Monitoring System.

Results: Overall, 23.3% of the athletes had 2 or more injuries within a sport; basketball and soccer athletes were most vulnerable. Overall, the probability of an athlete sustaining 3 or more injuries was 38.6%, and the risk was highest for field hockey players (61.9%). The risk of subsequent injury at a new body location was almost 2 times higher than reinjury at the same body location (risk ratio = 1.7, 95% confidence interval = 1.6, 1.8) and was similar for all sports except volleyball. Only in softball was the proportion of reinjuries causing 8 or more days lost from participation greater than the proportion of new injuries causing similar time loss. Softball and volleyball had the highest proportion of reinjuries at the shoulder, especially rotator cuff strains. The proportion of knee reinjuries was significantly higher than new injuries for all sports except soccer. The proportion of anterior cruciate ligament injuries was significantly higher for volleyball players only. Overall, the proportion of reinjuries was significantly higher for stress fractures and musculoskeletal condition injuries.

Conclusions: Patterns of subsequent injury risk appear to vary among these 5 sports. Almost one quarter of the athletes incurred 2 or more injuries over a 3-year period, so the effects of subsequent injuries deserve more consideration.

Keywords: epidemiology; female athletes; reinjuries; sports injuries; surveillance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Baseball / injuries*
  • Basketball / injuries*
  • Causality
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Hockey / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Odds Ratio
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Schools
  • Soccer / injuries*
  • Sports / statistics & numerical data
  • United States / epidemiology