A statewide assessment of youth sports- and recreation-related injuries using emergency department administrative records

Alex F. Howard, Julia F. Costich, Carl G. Mattacola, Svetla Slavova, Heather M. Bush, F. Douglas Scutchfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose Adequate levels of physical activity are essential for health, but participation in sports and recreational physical activities is associated with an increased risk of injury. The present study quantifies the impact of sports- and recreation-related injuries (SRIs) for middle and high school-aged Kentucky children.

Methods The study describes unintentional injuries in 2010-2012 Kentucky emergency department (ED) administrative records for patients age 10-18 years. SRIs were identified based on external codes of injuries, according to the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification.

Results A total of 163,252 ED visits by 10- to 18-year olds occurred during the study period, of which 31,898 (20%) were related to participation in physical activity. Males accounted for 70% of the SRIs. The primary mechanisms for SRIs were strikings (55%), falls (26%), and overexertion (13%). Superficial contusions (25%), sprains/strains (33%), and fractures (18%) were the primary diagnoses. The total charges billed for SRIs exceeded $40 million, or 19% of the total charges billed for all unintentional injury-related ED visits in this age group.

Conclusions The present study revealed one fifth of all Kentucky ED visits, and ED charges billed for unintentional injury among youth aged 10-18 years were related to sport and recreation. In the absence of a dedicated SRI surveillance system, ED administrative records provide meaningful utility for conducting statewide assessments of adolescent SRIs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-632
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine.


  • Athletic injuries
  • Epidemiology
  • Injury prevention
  • Kentucky
  • Sport injuries
  • Surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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