Ocular injury rates in college sports

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Mar;40(3):428-32. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31815e7263.


Purpose: To determine the rate of eye injury sustained in 12 college sports in order to assess whether there is a high risk of ocular eye injury in some sports.

Methods: From the fall of 1990 through the spring of 2006 at an NCAA Division III college, all ocular injuries that occurred while participating in a varsity sport and reported to the training room were retrospectively analyzed to obtain an ocular injury rate per sport.

Results: This study included 5921 participants during a 16-yr period. During this time, 10 ocular injuries were sustained in five different sports. Five (50%) occurred while playing men's basketball, one (10%) in women's basketball, two (20%) in men's water polo, one (10%) in baseball, and one (10%) while playing women's soccer.

Conclusion: The rate of ocular injury as a result of participation in baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, golf, soccer, swimming and diving, track and field, water polo, softball, or volleyball is very low. Hence, any discussion with athletes regarding the utility of eye protection while participating in any of these sports should focus on the athlete's past ocular history instead of the sport to be played.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control
  • Eye Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Eye Injuries / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Students*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Universities*