Objective: Participation in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) sports increases annually, yet the risk of maxillofacial injuries among these athletes is unknown. We report the incidence and trends in maxillofacial injuries among NCAA athletes.
Study design: Retrospective study of the NCAA Injury Surveillance System (ISS) representing athletes from seven men's and eight women's sports across Divisions 1, 2, and 3. Incidence of maxillofacial injuries by sport, gender, anatomic location, and injuries requiring surgery were measured.
Methods: Athlete exposure data from 2004 to 2005 through 2013 to 2014 were analyzed, along with maxillofacial injuries recorded in the NCAA-ISS.
Results: There were 2,017 injuries recorded, which projects to 41,204 injuries from 202,087,229 athlete events, or 2.04 injuries per 10,000 athlete events (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.68 to 2.40). Women had higher injury rates, 2.06 versus 2.03 (P = 0.016 [95% CI 0.22 to 2.09]). Highest rates were noted in men's wrestling 7.02 (95% CI, 2.84 to 11.19) and men's basketball 4.80 (95% CI, 3.57 to 6.02), and were lowest in women's ice hockey 0.61 (95% CI, 0.17 to 1.06) and women's volleyball 0.43 (95% CI, 0.20 to 0.66). No gender differences in fractures or need for surgery, but men sustained more operative fractures, 27.85% versus 17.04% (P = 0.035 [95% CI, 0.79 to 20.82]). Men's football, women's ice hockey, women's volleyball, and women's gymnastics had consistently low fracture rates.
Conclusion: Maxillofacial injuries represent approximately 3.4% of all injuries sustained by NCAA athletes. Women had a higher injury rate, whereas men had a higher rate of operative facial fractures. Awareness and improved facial protection, especially among noncontact sports, will be crucial in reducing the incidence of these injuries.
Level of evidence: 4. Laryngoscope, 127:1296-1301, 2017.
Keywords: Collegiate athletes; NCAA; facial trauma; fractures; maxillofacial injuries.
© 2017 The American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, Inc.