Epidemiology of sports-related injuries in children and youth presenting to Canadian emergency departments from 2007-2010

BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil. 2013 Dec 23;5(1):30. doi: 10.1186/2052-1847-5-30.


Background: Although injuries related to sports and recreation represent a significant burden to children and youth, few studies have examined the descriptive epidemiology of sports-related injury since 2005, and some sports such as ringette have not been evaluated to date. The primary purpose of this study was to provide the descriptive epidemiology of sports-related injuries treated in emergency departments for children and youth aged 5 - 19.

Methods: A retrospective data analysis was performed using data from the Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program [CHIRPP] from fiscal years (April - March) 2007/08 to 2009/10. CHIRPP is a computerized information system designed by the Public Health Agency of Canada that collects information about injuries to people evaluated in emergency departments across 11 pediatric hospitals and 5 general hospitals in Canada. Thirteen sports or activities were analyzed (baseball, basketball, cycling, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, ringette, rugby, skiing, sledding, snowboarding, soccer, and volleyball). Descriptive statistics, including frequency by sport, age and sex, as well as the percent of concussions within each sport were calculated.

Results: Out of a total of 56, 691 reported sports and recreational injuries, soccer accounted for the largest proportion of injuries with 11,941 reported cases over the 3 year time period. Of these, approximately 30% were fractures. The 10 - 14 year age group reported the greatest proportion of injuries in 10 out of the 13 sports analyzed. In addition, males reported a greater number of overall injuries than females in 11 out of the 13 sports analyzed. The largest percentage of concussions was reported in ringette; these injuries accounted for 17.1% of overall injuries within this sport.

Conclusions: Injury prevention programs in Canada should focus on improving evidence-based programs to reduce the burden of injuries in all sports.