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Med Sport Sci. 2012;58:158-72. doi: 10.1159/000338728. Epub 2012 Jul 18.

The epidemiology of injury in ATV and motocross sports.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery, Mayo Clinic, 200 1st St SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


Off-road motorsports are popular in rural and suburban areas, and allow for racing, recreation, and easy access to backcountry destinations. This chapter will review the incidence and types of injuries sustained in off-road motorsports. We completed a structured review of motocross and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) injuries, assessing for injury rates, risk factors, and mortality figures. Information for this study was obtained from a PubMed search under the terms 'motocross', 'motorcross', 'all-terrain vehicles', 'injury', 'motorcycle', 'ATV'. Abstracts and articles in the English language from 1980 onward were reviewed. Further statistics were obtained from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission publications. Operating vehicles off-road requires coordination, experience, and training. Motocross is an organized sport with national associations governing the competition of highly trained athletes. ATVs are used both recreationally and commercially, typically for farming and ranching. ATV use appears more dangerous that motocross, with a higher mortality rate, disproportionately for children. Both sports continue to have high rates of head, spinal cord, and extremity injury. Future prospective studies in off-road motorsports should evaluate the risk factors for injury and target specific areas for injury prevention. Improved training programs, use and improvement of safety helmets, and for ATV use, limiting access to minors, may improve the overall safety of off-road motorsports.

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