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J Pediatr Orthop. 2011 Mar;31(2):113-6. doi: 10.1097/BPO.0b013e3182093f8b.

Impact of fractures on school attendance.

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New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.



The purpose of this study was to determine the average prevalence of children across the nation who experience difficulty in attending school after an acute orthopaedic injury.


A survey was created to obtain information on school absence for children with acute orthopaedic injuries. All members of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America were invited to complete the survey.


The survey was sent by e-mail to 936 members of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America. A total of 283 surgeons from 45 states responded to the survey, which resulted in a response rate of 30.2%. The survey found a correlation with difficulty in attending school with a cast and the size of the population served. Communities with the larger populations are less likely to permit children to attend school with a cast. The most common reasons given by schools for a child not being permitted to attend school with a cast were concern for the safety of the child and inability to accommodate the needs of the child.


Most physicians participating in the survey reported no difficulty with their patients attending school with a cast. There was more difficulty with children in attending school with a cast in metropolitan areas and in communities with greater than 1 million people. To decrease or to eliminate absence from school, it may be best to identify schools in a physician's community that do not allow attendance of children with a cast. Once individual schools are identified, advocacy can be targeted. At the very least, when it is known which schools are involved, the surgeon can anticipate difficulties and plan accordingly. As a child's absence from school has substantial negative consequences, we strongly support intervention to enable injured children to appropriately return to a regular educational setting in a timely manner. Future studies with school participation would help to identify reasons for school absence after a musculoskeletal injury.


Level V, Prognostic.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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