Head Over Wheels: Traumatic Head and Neck Injuries Secondary to Mountain Biking

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2022 Jan;131(1):52-58. doi: 10.1177/00034894211007231. Epub 2021 Apr 12.


Objectives: The popularity of mountain biking (MTB) in the United States has risen in recent years. We sought to identify the prevalence and distribution of MTB associated head and neck injuries presenting to emergency departments across the U.S. and identify risk factors for hospital admission in this patient population.

Methods: The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) was queried for MTB related injuries of the head and neck from 2009 to 2018, with analysis for incidence, age, gender, anatomic site, and diagnoses.

Results: A total of 486 cases were identified, corresponding to an estimated 18 952 head and neck MTB related ED visits. Patients were predominantly male (80.7%) and white (69.8%) with a median age of 35 years (interquartile range, 21-46 years). A majority (88.4%) of patients were released from the ED, but a significant proportion of patients were admitted (9.2%) or transferred (1.2%). The most common facial fractures were facial/not specified (35%), nasal bone (29%), mandible (15%), orbit (12%), and zygomaxillary complex (9%). The greatest predictors of hospital admission/transfer were injury to the mouth or neck and avulsion-type injury (P < .001).

Conclusions: MTB results in a significant number of traumatic head and neck injuries nationwide. Patients are primarily adult, white males. The majority of injuries result in discharge from the ED, however a small amount of these patients experience significant morbidity necessitating hospital admission. Understanding the distribution of MTB head and neck injuries may aid in the clinical evaluation of these patients.

Level of evidence: 4.

Keywords: NEISS; facial trauma; head and neck injuries; mountain biking.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bicycling / injuries*
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / epidemiology*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult