Researchers of the Center for Injury Research and Policy, based out of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, report that from the years 1991 through 2008, more than 159,000 children and adolescents, aged 10 years old to 18 years old were treated in US emergency departments for track-related injuries. Throughout the 18-year study period, the results also indicate that the annual number of track-related injuries has increased 36%, increasing from 7,702 in 1991 to 10,496 in 2008. 

Lara McKenzie, PhD, principal investigator at the Center for Injury Research and Policy, senior study author, adds that while track participation assists children and adolescents in remaining physically active, “the increase in injuries corresponding with the increased participation in this activity suggests we need to do a better job of preventing track-related injuries among our young athletes.”

The study suggests that 52% of the most common diagnoses included sprains and/or strains and 17% included fractures or dislocations. Researchers say the study was designed to assess sprinting, cross country, running, hurdles, relays, stretching and/or drills, and “other” activities. The results indicate that 59% of the most common activities performed at the time of injury included running and 23% included hurdles. 

McKenzie reports that, “the most commonly injured body parts varied across activity and across age group. For instance, elementary students were more likely to sustain upper extremity injuries while high school students were more likely to sustain lower leg injuries. With this in mind, track-related injury prevention efforts may need to be tailored by activity for different age group in order to most effectively address the injury concerns the athletes are facing.”

Source: Nationwide Children’s Hospital