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Am J Sports Med. 2005 Jul;33(7):1065-70. Epub 2005 May 11.

Characteristics of water skiing-related and wakeboarding-related injuries treated in emergency departments in the United States, 2001-2003.

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  • 1Center for Injury Research and Policy, Columbus Children's Hospital, 700 Children's Drive, Columbus, OH 43205, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Water skiing and wakeboarding are popular sports with high potential for injury due to rapid boat acceleration, lack of protective gear, and waterway obstacles. However, trends in water skiing- and wakeboarding-related injuries in the United States have not been described using national data.

HYPOTHESIS:

The number of injuries, injury diagnoses, and body regions injured vary by sport.

STUDY DESIGN:

Descriptive epidemiology study.

METHODS:

Data regarding water skiing- and wakeboarding-related injuries presenting to 98 hospital emergency departments in the United States between January 1, 2001, and December 31, 2003, were extracted from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. Data included demographics, injury diagnosis, and body region injured.

RESULTS:

Data were collected for 517 individuals with water skiing-related injuries and 95 individuals with wakeboarding-related injuries. These injuries represent an estimated 23 460 water skiing- and 4810 wakeboarding-related injuries treated in US emergency departments in 2001 to 2003. Head injuries represented the largest percentage of injuries for wakeboarders (28.8% of all injuries) and the smallest percentage for water skiers (4.3%) (P < .01; relative risk [95% confidence interval], 6.73 [3.89-11.66]). Analysis of injury diagnosis was consistent as wakeboarders had significantly more traumatic brain injuries (12.5% of all injuries) than did water skiers (2.4%) (P < .05; relative risk [95% confidence interval], 5.27 [2.21-12.60]). Strains or sprains were the leading injury diagnoses for water skiing (36.3% of all injuries), and the majority (55.7%) were to the lower extremity. Lacerations were the most common diagnoses for wakeboarders (31.1% of all injuries), and the majority (59.6%) were to the face.

CONCLUSION:

The analyses of water skiing- and wakeboarding-related injuries treated in US emergency departments in 2001 to 2003 highlight the differences in injury patterns for these 2 sports. The substantial number of head and facial injuries among wakeboarders underscores the need for research on the potential role of helmets or other protective gear to reduce these common injuries.

PMID:
15888722
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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