Objective: To investigate the epidemiology of dislocations/separations in a nationally representative sample of high school student-athletes participating in 9 sports.
Design: Descriptive epidemiologic study.
Setting: Sports injury data for the 2005-2009 academic years were collected using an Internet-based injury surveillance system, Reporting Information Online (RIO).
Participants: A nationally representative sample of 100 US high schools.
Assessment of risk factors: Injuries sustained as a function of sport and gender.
Main outcome measures: Dislocation/separation rates, body site, outcome, surgery, and mechanism.
Results: Dislocations/separations represented 3.6% (n = 755) of all injuries. The most commonly injured body sites were the shoulder (54.9%), wrist/hand (16.5%), and knee (16.0%); 18.4% of dislocations/separations were recurrences of previous injuries at the same body site; 32.3% of injuries were severe (ie, student-athletes unable to return to play within 3 weeks of the injury date), and 11.8% required surgical repair. The most common mechanisms of injury were contact with another player (52.4%) and contact with the playing surface (26.4%). Injury rates varied by sport. In gender-comparable sports, few variations in patterns of injury existed. Rates were highest in football (2.10 per 10 000 athletic exposures) and wrestling (1.99) and lowest in baseball (0.24) and girls' soccer (0.27).
Conclusions: Although dislocation/separation injuries represent a relatively small proportion of all injuries sustained by high school student-athletes, the severity of these injuries indicates a need for enhanced injury prevention efforts. Developing effective targeted preventive measures depends on increasing our knowledge of dislocation/separation rates, patterns, and risk factors among high school athletes.