Background Our review focuses on the incidence, aetiology and management of sports injuries in the paediatric population in a tertiary paediatric trauma unit in a developing country.
Methods The data from Trauma Unit Register at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital for the 10-year period from 2000 until 2010 was retrospectively analysed for all children under the age of 13-years, who were documented as having sustained any injury in a Sport setting.
Results Over the 10-year period 950 children (average age 9 years), who were presented to the trauma unit had sports related injuries. The male to female ratio was 5.6:1 (males 805, females 145). Whilst 212 needed immediate admission 738 were discharged on initial presentation. Abbreviated injury score was minor for 547, moderate for 393 and severe for 10 children.
The cause of injury was undefined falls in 416 and falls involving playground equipment in 87 cases. The site of injury was the upper limb 392 (forearm 120, elbow supracondylar 44, elbow other 60, hand 82, wrist 74, upper arm 12), the lower limb 224 (tibia and fibula shaft and calf 70, foot 62, ankle 54, femur shaft and thigh, 29 hip and femoral neck 9) and the head 137 (scalp 41, skull 41, brain closed 20, concussion 35) cases.
Fractures were the most common pathology (closed 416, open 10, fracture dislocation 7) followed by closed tissue injures 168, abrasions 88 and lacerations in 67 cases.
Conclusions This review shows a male predominance in sport related injuries in the under 13-year old age group, which may reflect greater sporting participation by boys than girls in South Africa. The upper limb was the most commonly injured extremity and falls the most common cause of injury. This may be a result of a bracing type injury. Increasing sport participation by girls may change this injury pattern. Injury and fall prevention may decrease injuries in this age group.
- Sports Injury
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