A new study just published in the medical journal Pediatrics reports a 150% increase in injuries sustained by students in school gym classes in the last 10 years.
Researchers at Ohio State University say they don’t have an answer about why the injuries are increasing, just as many schools have been beefing up their physical education programs to battle the growing obesity problem in American youth.
The lead researcher, Lara McKenzie at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, says the cause is unlikely to be due to more kids participating in PE.
“From all accounts,” McKenzie says to US News, “participation (in PE programs) is actually down over the last couple of decades and in the past couple of years,” she says, “and there’s only been a slight increase” in the injury rate.
Using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 405,305 children and adolescents were treated in emergency rooms for injuries stemming from their PE classes in the 11-year span of the study.
Just over half of the injuries occurred among middle school students with most of the injuries—about 70%-- related to running, basketball, volleyball, soccer, gymnastics or football.
Virtually all of the cases were treated and the patient released without hospitalization. Of the 2% which required a hospital stay, 75% were boys who were more likely to suffer head injuries caused by colliding with other participants during group activities. Girls primarily suffered strains and sprains to the legs and were hurt during non-group activity.
Authors of the study concluded more research is needed to develop injury-prevention strategies while encouraging children to live an active lifestyle. #