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CJEM. 2016 Mar;18(2):106-11. doi: 10.1017/cem.2015.69. Epub 2015 Jul 27.

A Retrospective Evaluation of Pediatric Major Trauma Related to Sport and Recreational Activities in Nova Scotia.

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*Department of Emergency Medicine,Dalhousie University,Halifax,NS.
†Department of Critical Care Medicine,Dalhousie University,Halifax,NS.
‡Division of Neurosurgery,Dalhousie University,Halifax,NS.
§Trauma Nova Scotia,Halifax,NS.



A small proportion of pediatric sport- and recreation-related injuries are serious enough to be considered "major trauma." However, the immediate and long-term consequences in cases of pediatric major trauma are significant and potentially life-threatening. The objective of this study was to describe the incidence and outcomes of pediatric major traumas related to sport and recreational activities in Nova Scotia.


This study was a retrospective case series. Data on major pediatric traumas related to sport and recreational activities on a provincial scope were extracted from the Nova Scotia Trauma Program Registry between 2000 and 2013. We evaluated frequency, type, severity, and outcomes of major traumas. Outcomes assessed included length of hospital stay, admission to a special care unit (SCU), and mortality.


Overall, 107 children aged three to 18 years sustained a major trauma (mean age 12.5 [SD 3.8]; 84% male). Most injuries were blunt traumas (97%). The greatest proportion were from cycling (59, 53%), followed by hockey (8, 7%), skateboarding (7, 7%) and skiing (7, 7%). The Nova Scotia Pediatric Trauma Team was activated in 27% of cases. Mean in-hospital length of stay was five days (SD 5.6), and nearly half (49%) of patients required SCU admission. Severe traumatic brain injury occurred in 52% of cases, and mortality in five cases.


Over a 13-year period, the highest incidence of pediatric major trauma related to sport and recreational activities was from cycling, followed by hockey. Severe traumatic brain injury occurred in over half of pediatric major trauma patients.


injuries; pediatrics; sports

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