The popularity of weight training has grown over the past decade, and a new study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, has found that the number of injuries from weight training hasalso  increased.

The study found that more than 970,000 weight training-related injuries were treated in US hospital emergency departments between 1990 and 2007, increasing nearly 50% during the 18-year study period.

Data from the study, available online as a preview publication-before-print in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, showed that males (82%) and youths aged 13 to 24 years (47%) sustained the largest proportion of weight training-related injuries. The majority of injuries occurred during the use of free weights (90%), and the most common mechanism of injury were weights dropping on a person (65%). Injuries to the upper (25%) and lower trunk (20%) were the most common, followed by injuries to the hand (19%). The most frequent injury diagnoses were sprains and strains (46%) followed by soft tissue injuries (18%).

While youths (ages 13 to 24) had the highest number of injuries, the largest increase in the incidence of injuries occurred among those aged 45 years and older. People aged 55 and older were more likely than their younger counterparts to be injured while using weight-training machines, and to sustain injuries from overexertion and lifting or pulling. Youths 12 years and younger were more likely to be injured while using free weights. This age group had a higher proportion of lacerations and fractures, and were more likely to sustain injuries as a result of having a weight drop or fall on them than those aged 13 years and older.

The study also found that while males had the highest number of injuries, there was a larger increase in the incidence of injury among female participants.

This is the first published analysis of the epidemiology of injuries directly related to weight training across all age groups of the general population treated in US emergency departments during the last two decades, according to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Data for this study were collected from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), which is operated by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. The NEISS dataset provides information on consumer product-related and sports and recreation-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments across the country.

The Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) works globally to reduce injury-related pediatric death and disabilities. With research at its core, CIRP works to continually improve the scientific understanding of the epidemiology, biomechanics, prevention, acute treatment, and rehabilitation of injuries. CIRP serves as a pioneer by translating injury research into education, advocacy, and advances in clinical care.

[Source: Nationwide Children’s Hospital]