Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Sports Med. 2016 Nov;44(11):2925-2932. Epub 2016 May 10.

Epidemiology of High School Sports-Related Injuries Resulting in Medical Disqualification: 2005-2006 Through 2013-2014 Academic Years.

Author information

Department of Family Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, USA
Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, USA.
Department of Family Medicine, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado, USA.
Department of Communication, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, Colorado, USA.
Department of Epidemiology, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado, Aurora, Colorado, USA.



Although rare, season- or career-ending injuries in young athletes are concerning because they can result in time lost from sport participation and school, social costs, and economic costs of medical care.


To describe rates and patterns of medically disqualifying (MDQ) injuries among United States high school athletes overall and by sport, sex, type of athletic activity, and mechanism.


Descriptive epidemiological study.


Sports-related injury data on high school athletes were collected during the 2005-2006 through 2013-2014 academic years from a large national sample of United States high schools via High School Reporting Information Online (RIO). MDQ injuries were defined as season- or career-ending injuries.


From 2005-2006 through 2013-2014, High School RIO captured 59,862 total injuries including 3599 MDQ injuries (6.0% of all injuries). Most MDQ injuries (60.4%) occurred in competition. Football had the highest injury rate (26.5 per 100,000 athlete-exposures), followed by gymnastics (18.6) and wrestling (17.9). MDQ injury rates were higher among girls in the sex-comparable sports of basketball (rate ratio [RR], 1.6; 95% CI, 1.3-2.0), cross-country (RR, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.0-7.5), soccer (RR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.3-1.9), and track and field (RR, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.7-4.0). Player-player contact (48.2%) was the most common MDQ injury mechanism. The most commonly injured body site was the knee (33.7%). The most common MDQ injury diagnosis was sprains/strains (35.9%); the most common specific MDQ injury was knee sprains/strains (25.4%), with the anterior cruciate ligament being the most commonly injured knee structure. Among boys, fracture was the most common diagnosis in 3 sports, and sprain/strain was the most common in 6 sports. Among girls, sprain/strain was the most common diagnosis in 9 sports, and fracture was the most common only in softball.


MDQ injuries vary by sport, sex, and type of athletic activity and occur most frequently as a result of player-player contact. These findings should prompt additional research into the development, implementation, and evaluation of targeted injury prevention efforts.


adolescent; concussion; fracture; ligaments

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center