Background: As participation in weight training in the United States increases, the number of persons at injury risk increases.
Purpose: To examine weight training-related injuries in patients presenting to US emergency departments from 1990 to 2007. Study Design Descriptive epidemiology study.
Methods: Weight training-related injury data were analyzed from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. Sample weights provided by this organization calculated national estimates of weight training-related injuries from the 100-hospital sample.
Results: From 1990 to 2007, 25 335 weight training injuries were seen in US emergency departments, correlating to an estimated 970 801 injuries nationwide. Patients' mean age was 27.6 years (range, 6-100 years); 82.3% were male. The upper trunk (25.3%) and lower trunk (19.7%) were the most commonly injured body parts. The most common diagnosis was sprain/strain (46.1%). The most common mechanism of injury was weights dropping on the person (65.5%). A large number of injuries occurred with free weights (90.4%). Males had a larger proportion of upper trunk injuries (26.8%; injury proportion ratio [IPR], 1.45; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.36-1.57; P <.001) than females (18.4%). Females had a larger proportion of foot injuries (22.9%; IPR, 2.09; 95% CI: 1.93-2.26; P <.001) than males (11.0%). Persons 12 years and younger had a larger proportion of hand (37.9%; IPR, 2.08; 95% CI: 1.76-2.46; P <.001) injuries than persons 13 years or older (18.2%). Persons 55 years and older were injured more when using machines (18.2%; IPR, 1.96; 95% CI: 1.47-2.61, P <.001) than persons 54 years and younger (9.3%). Persons using free weights sustained a greater proportion of fractures/dislocations (23.6%; IPR, 2.44; 95% CI: 1.92-3.09; P <.001) than persons using machines (9.7%).
Conclusion: Further research is needed to drive development of targeted, age- and gender-specific, evidence-based injury prevention strategies to decrease injury rates among weight training participants.