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Review
. 2016 May;39(3):255-64.
doi: 10.1080/10790268.2016.1138601. Epub 2016 Feb 18.

Epidemiology of Sport-Related Spinal Cord Injuries: A Systematic Review

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Free PMC article
Review

Epidemiology of Sport-Related Spinal Cord Injuries: A Systematic Review

Christie Wl Chan et al. J Spinal Cord Med. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Context: Despite the recognition of sports as a significant contributor in the etiology of spinal cord injury (SCI), no studies have systematically explored the epidemiology of SCI caused by sports.

Objective: This paper aims to give a systematic overview of the epidemiology of sport-related spinal cord injury around the world.

Methods: A systematic review was conducted to identify published literature reporting the epidemiology of SCI caused by sports. The literature search was conducted in MEDLINE/PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, PsycINFO and Sportdiscus with date limits 1980 through to July 2015. Data from 54 studies covering 25 countries was extracted and collated.

Results: Important findings include identification of 6 countries in which sports accounts for over 13% of SCI (highest to lowest: Russia, Fiji, New Zealand, Iceland, France and Canada); individual sports with high risk for SCI (diving, skiing, rugby, and horseback riding); and the most common level of injury for various sports (almost entirely cervical for hockey, skiing, diving and American football, while over half of horseback riding and snowboarding injuries are thoracic or lumbosacral).

Conclusion: This paper identifies countries and sports with higher rates of sport-related SCIs where implementation of prevention programs and reporting systems to track SCI epidemiology may be helpful, and highlights gaps in our current knowledge for further investigation. The comparison of SCI occurrence for each sport across countries, as well as examination of the specific characteristics of SCI incurred for individual sports will assist in directing efforts for prevention.

Keywords: Epidemiology; Injury; Spinal cord; Sport.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Flow diagram of study selection process (systematic review of the epidemiology of sport-related spinal cord injuries).
Figure 2
Figure 2
Worldwide demographics of sport-related spinal cord injuries relative to non sport-related injuries. The graph shows the percentage of sport-related SCIs relative to all TSCIs in 25 countries, based on 54 studies.
Figure 3
Figure 3
The percentage of SCI due to 9 individual sports relative to all sport-related spinal cord injuries is presented, with data drawn from 9 countries. Data were reported for diving (15 studies), rugby (5), horseback riding (8), skiing (8), football (5), cycling (8), motor racing (7), gymnastics (8), and baseball (4).
Figure 4
Figure 4
Breakdown of contributions of 10 individual sports to total sport-related SCI in 9 countries. Data were reported from 18 studies.
Figure 5
Figure 5
Level of spinal cord injury caused by 6 individual sports. Data were averaged for the following sports: horse-riding (2 studies), hockey (2), skiing (2), snowboarding (3), diving (3), and American football (2).

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