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J Athl Train. 2014 May-Jun;49(3):381-8. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-49.3.09. Epub 2014 Apr 23.

Epidemiologic comparison of injured high school basketball athletes reporting to emergency departments and the athletic training setting.

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  • 1Center for Injury Research and Policy, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

Basketball is a popular US high school sport with more than 1 million participants annually.

OBJECTIVE:

To compare patterns of athletes with basketball-related injuries presenting to US emergency departments from 2005 through 2010 and the high school athletic training setting from the 2005-2011 seasons.

DESIGN:

Descriptive epidemiology study.

SETTING:

Data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission and the High School Reporting Information Online database.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):

Complex sample weights were used to calculate national estimates of basketball-related injuries for comparison.

PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS:

Adolescents from 13 to 19 years of age treated in US emergency departments for basketball-related injuries and athletes from 13 to 19 years of age from schools participating in High School Reporting Information Online who were injured while playing basketball.

RESULTS:

Nationally, an estimated 1,514,957 (95% confidence interval = 1,337,441, 1,692,474) athletes with basketball-related injuries reported to the emergency department and 1,064,551 (95% confidence interval = 1,055,482, 1,073,620) presented to the athletic training setting. Overall, the most frequent injuries seen in the emergency department were lacerations and fractures (injury proportion ratios [IPRs] = 3.45 and 1.72, respectively), whereas those seen in the athletic training setting were more commonly concussions and strains/sprains (IPRs = 2.23 and 1.19, respectively; all P values < .0001). Comparisons of body site and diagnosis combinations revealed additional differences. For example, athletes with lower leg fractures more often presented to the emergency department (IPR = 6.53), whereas those with hand fractures more frequently presented to the athletic training setting (IPR = 1.18; all P values < .0001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Patterns of injury differed among high school basketball players presenting for treatment in the emergency department and the athletic training setting. Understanding differences specific to clinical settings is crucial to grasping the full epidemiologic and clinical picture of sport-related injuries. Certified athletic trainers play an important role in identifying, assessing, and treating athletes with sport-related injuries who might otherwise present to clinical settings with higher costs, such as the emergency department.

KEYWORDS:

adolescents; assessment; injury surveillance

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