A population-based study of sport and recreation-related head injuries treated in a Canadian health region

J Sci Med Sport. 2012 Jul;15(4):298-304. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2011.12.005. Epub 2012 Jan 12.


Objectives: To report the rates of SR-related HIs presenting to EDs in a Canadian population-based sample.

Design: Descriptive epidemiology study.

Methods: Using administrative data, sport and recreation-related emergency department presentations for persons 0-35 years of age, from April 1997 through March 2008, were obtained from the Edmonton Zone (formerly the Capital Health Region), Alberta Health Services through the Ambulatory Care Classification System.

Results: Of the 3,230,890 visits to the emergency departments of the five hospitals in Edmonton, 63,219 sport and recreation-related injury records and 4935 sport and recreation-head injury records were identified. Head injuries were most frequently treated for the activities of hockey (20.7%), cycling (12.0%), and skiing/snowboarding/sledding. Males accounted for 71.9% (n=3546) and patients less than 18 years of age sustained 3446 (69.8%) sport and recreation-head injuries.

Conclusions: Sport and recreation-related head injuries most frequently treated in emergency departments involve common activities such as hockey, cycling, skiing/snowboarding/sledding, and soccer. Males and those less than 18 years of age sustain the majority of sport and recreation-related head injuries treated in emergency departments. These findings underscore the importance of sport-specific policies and safety promotion for the prevention of head injuries, in sports and recreational activities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alberta / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / epidemiology*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / therapy
  • Emergency Medical Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Recreation
  • Young Adult