Children and adolescents ‘account for half of sports A&E attendances’

Children and adolescents account for nearly half of A&E attendances for sporting injuries, research suggests. An analysis of A&E data at two hospitals between 2012 and 2014 found 47% of attendances for sport-related injuries were made by under-19s. Football, rugby union and rugby league were linked to the most injuries in boys. For girls, it was trampoline, netball and horse-riding for girls. Fourteen-year-old boys and 12-year-old girls were most likely to be injured. The authors say their findings should prompt schools to consider introducing injury prevention initiatives for child sport. Researchers, who looked at 11,676 accident and emergency attendances for sport-related injuries at two hospitals in Oxfordshire, found 10- to 14-year-olds were the group of children most likely to be injured, followed by 15- to 19-year-olds. The data did not show how many of these attendances led to admissions. Almost a quarter of the injuries were fractures, most commonly to the upper limbs, the study found. Football came top of the list for injuries for boys. Trampolining was worst for girls. Rugby union was the sport most associated with head injury and concussion in boys. While for girls, head injuries were most common during horse riding. Prof Allyson Pollock, from Newcastle University, said: “Everybody goes on about the benefits of sport but we don’t actually look at the downsides and risks of sports and we don’t design our prevention strategies to be informed by that. “This study has shed some light on the causes and scale of sport injuries and should act as a springboard for injury prevention initiatives in child sport, targeted specifically at the causal mechanisms for these often serious injuries.”

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